Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The First Murder
The Medieval Murderers – Book VIII
The Medieval Murderers

Simon and Schuster UK
5 July 2012/ ISBN 9781849837378
Historical Mystery / Various periods / UK, various places
Amazon || Amazon UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

I always think of these delightful compilations of interwoven historical mysteries by the changing cast of The Medieval Murderers as being akin to annuals. They come out in the summer, but ought to come out at Christmas as they have everything you could wish for in a good fireside read for a winter’s night. This time the item destined to cause murder and mayhem down the centuries is a mystery play, written at Oseney Abbey in Oxford in 1154. The theme is the first murder as Cain slays Abel, and as the manuscript resurfaces in later centuries, how it continues to inflict its curse.

As usual, the various authors either choose to write side adventures (ie ones that are not alluded to in the series novels) featuring the characters they are known for or go for something new. In more than one case the “something new” turns into a new set of series characters just for this series, and often these are so good and original, I wish they would write some proper novels featuring them. A good example is Ian Morson, who writes again of the exploits of the appealing, Joe Malinferno and Doll Pocket. Not many authors choose a 1820s setting – neither Regency nor Victorian – which makes it something rather special. Similarly, Susanna Gregory does not give us the Cambridge crew or Chaloner, instead treating her readers to a further tale of her 12th century Welsh pair. See, another previously unheard of setting! Bernard Knight and Karen Maitland give us stories featuring characters just for this book, and it is Philip Gooden, who serves up a new case for his Shakespearean actor Nick Revill. I always like these books (you can tell that can’t you) and this is a particularly good one, which finally concludes, thanks to Bernard Knight, with more than the usual archaeologists digging up the item, which has got rather boring. Short stories are never easy to write, but all these authors manage just fine. May this series long continue to delight histmyst readers every year.

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Tainted Relic 1
Sword of Shame
House of Shadows
The Lost Prophecies
King Arthur’s Bones
The Sacred Stone
Hill of Bones

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in Sewing World, Sew Hip, Popular Crafts and other magazines. Her craft blog is Green Thoughts
Reviewed 2012