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The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan · Book XI
Paul Doherty

Crème de la Crime (Severn House)
1 January 2012 (1 March 2012 US) / ISBN-13: 9781780290164
Historical Mystery / 1380 / London
Amazon US - UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Sir Robert Kilverby has been found murdered · in a locked room! In his possession was the priceless relic known as the Bloodstone, a ruby formed from Christ's blood and supposedly 'found'on a cart by a company of mercenaries after Poitiers. The Wyvern Company, as they were known, are now reduced to a few old soldiers, living out their later years at the abbey of St Fulcher. But one by one they too are being murdered, the first on the same night that Sir Robert meets his end. Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston are soon on the case.

The game's afoot! If Paul Doherty did not exist I think that it would be necessary to invent him. I've read a vast number of historical mysteries and can honestly say that he is the only author to have created his own sub-genre. Murder most foul mixed in with a frisson of the supernatural (not in this novel in case this is going to put you off), a word-hoard of rich images piled one atop the other, colorfully named characters and a cast of folk from the darker side of things are what he does, and does to perfection. The sleuths chase red herrings galore as they race to solve the murders (quite a few of these) and puzzle out the locked room mystery. We also get to meet up with some series characters again such as Athelstan's lively parishioners and the Fisher of Men among others. As well as this tangled tale, there are the robust descriptions of Richard II's London to enjoy and a useful historical note to it all. If you have not read this series before do start at the beginning; I guarantee you will want to read every one·unmissable Doherty at his best.

Reviewer's Note: Some gory murders
Reviewed 2012
© 2012