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Ordeal By Fire
Bradecote and Catchpoll Mystery – Book II
Sarah Hawkswood

Allison and Busby
22 September 2016/ ISBN 9780749020873
Mystery / Historical

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


When a silversmith’s property is badly damaged in a fire, it looks like an accident, but when there is a worse fire resulting in a death shortly afterwards. it starts to look like arson. But who could be setting the fires and why? The victims all appear to have nothing to do with each other, but surely there must be a reason…it is up to new under sheriff Hugh Bradecote and the doughty Sergeant Catchpoll to find out.

This book follows on from The Lord Bishop’s Clerk (published by The History Press), and reading that book first is a good idea. It sets the scene and introduces the characters, whereas this hits the ground running and sees the pair getting to know each other better. Set in Worcester in 1143, the author gives a good picture of life for ordinary townsfolk during the conflict between Stephen and Matilda. In many ways the case is the opposite of the first one, as instead of being in the closed world of an abbey, they have the whole town and environs to comb for their arsonist. Expect red herrings aplenty, lots of suspects and a lively style with a dash of humor. This is a very readable book that entertains with more than just a good mystery plot, and I eagerly await the next installment. Highly recommended for all the right reasons.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Ordeal by Fire #2
Marked to Die #3
Hostage To Fortune #4

Reviewed 2016