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Marked To Die
Bradecote and Catchpoll Mystery – Book III
Sarah Hawkswood

Allison and Busby
24 September 2017/ ISBN 9780749022402

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

October 1143: A consignment of salt is being taken along the road from Wich when it is attacked by a mysterious bowman. One of the casualties is local lord, Corbin FitzPayne, so the sheriff dispatches his undersheriff, Hugh Bradecote, and the doughty Serjeant Catchpoll to find out what is going on. This proves harder than it first appears, especially when Bradecote finds himself falling for FitzPayne’s new widow, Christina.

This might sound like a romance, but I can assure you that it is 100% detective story all the way through. There is some romance in it, but it never holds up the action, of which there is plenty as the sleuths sift through the evidence, question suspects and generally detect. As with the first two, this gives a good picture of life in the mid 12th century, a time when a broken leg could be a death sentence, and lords had the power of life and death over their hapless minions. The ongoing conflict between Stephen and Matilda takes a backseat this time, possibly more than it actually would have, but I don’t know enough about the period to comment. Certainly the protagonists are too busy with the case to involve themselves with anything else, and this makes for an exciting story that hits the ground running and races along until the end. The often grim events are leavened with the author’s trademark humor, which also reminds the reader that people are people whenever they lived. In this third book, Bradecote and Catchpoll are working together a lot more amicably, and they have the ginger haired Walkelin to help them, too. One of the best histmyst series around right now that reminds readers how good this type of thing can be when played straight with likeable characters and a really involving plot. Highly recommended.

Reviews of other titles in this series`

Ordeal by Fire #1
Marked to Die #3


Reviewed 2017