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Fear in the Forest
Crowner John Mystery Series, No. 7

by Bernard Knight
Read by Paul Matthews


Fear in the Forest is number seven in the Crowner John Series. Sir John de Wolfe, dubbed Black John by soldiers who fought with him in previous campaigns, is the county coroner. His character is forthright, perceptive and reliable.

Itís June 1195 and a rider with an arrow shaft in his back gains attention when itís discovered heís the second senior royal forest officer to be murdered. Crowner John prepares an inquest. He investigates and interviews with the help of his bodyguard Gwyn and clerk Thomas. And through it all no one is safe. John's investigation of the officers' deaths also leads to a conspiracy that may involve his brother-in-law, Sheriff Sir Richard de Revelle (oh, that man...). It takes a range of coroner's methods and cross-examination skills for John to solve this case. On the personal side, Johnís mistressí latest news has his wife Matilda heading to the priory to become a nun. Is an annulment (freedom) in his future? Mistress Nester finds herself confiding in Thomas more and more... This installment delivers both adventure and mystery.

As always, in listening to a Crowner John mystery I am quickly immersed in the period and storyline. Knight is well-known for his authentic characters and historical depiction. Fear in the Forest is just as absorbing as previous titles in this series. Paul Matthews narrates this episode, as well. His narration is spot on with Nesterís kindness, Matildaís haughtiness, and Johnís intensity. Turning this audio on means entering Crowner Johnís era and leaving your own until the last word is heard.

Iím still waiting for BBC or Americaís PBS/OETA to discover this series. I am confident it would be just as dramatic and fascinating as the Brother Cadfael series..,

The Book

Clipper Audio, Recorded Books
Feb 2004
Audio book / 12 CDs / 14hrs
1845050223 - audio
978-0743449908 - paperback
Historical Mystery 12th C Devon England
More at US || UK
Audio edition Publisher site || WholeStoryAudioUK
NOTE: Amazon links are to paperback editions. The audio edition is available from the UK only

The Reviewer

Brenda Weeaks
Reviewed 2009
© 2009