Bernard Knight, or to give him his correct title, Professor Bernard Knight, CBE, was a pathologist to the Home office until 1980 when he was appointed Professor of Forensic Pathology at the University of Wales College of medicine, 1980. He has written the extremely successful Crowner John series of medieval mysteries, of which there are now twelve books, His character Crowner John is certainly among my favourite characters in medieval mysteries.
The books are set in 12th century Devon where Crowner (coroner) John has a running battle with. the corrupt Richard de Revelle, Sir John's brother.-in-law, and ex-sheriff. On the surface, for the sake of his wife, Sir John de Wolfe attempts to keep up a working relationship with his brother-in-law, but secretly he regards the sheriff with rank distaste. Sir John, a staunch supporter of Richard the Lionheart, has no time for Sir Richard, who is siding with Prince John while Richard is away.
The post of Crowner (coroner) is a relatively new one and Sir John is still treated with a great deal of mistrust, not least because of the fines that he must impose when there has been a violent death of any kind. So when Sir John is called to investigate an unidentified body found in Axmouth, he is not particularly concerned to find that the inhabitants of the town close ranks and are unwilling to divulge what, if anything they know about the manner of the young man's death.
It is only later that Sir John realises that the reticence among the seafarer's and townsfolk regarding the suspicious death is something far more sinister than the normal lack of interest in the duties of the newly appointed Coroner's office. Sir John will need all his powers of persuasion and his strong sword arm to see this case through to it's conclusion.