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The Straw Men (A Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery) [Hardcover]

Paul Doherty
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Creme de la Crime (29 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780290373
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780290379
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough (North-East England) in 1946. After A-levels, he went to Ushaw College in Durham for three years to study for the Catholic priesthood. In 1967, he was admitted to Liverpool University where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in History and won a state scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford. While there he met his wife Carla Lynn Corbitt. He continued his studies but decided that the academic world was not for him and became a secondary school teacher.

Paul worked in Ascot, Newark and Crawley, before being appointed as Headmaster to Trinity Catholic School, Woodford Green, Essex, in September 1981. Trinity is a large comprehensive (1700 on roll) which teaches the full ability range, ages 11-18. The school has been described as one of the leading comprehensives in the U.K. and has been awarded "Outstanding" in four consecutive OFSTED inspections. All seven of Paul and Carla's children have been educated at Trinity.

Paul's other incarnation is as a novelist. He finished his doctorate on the reign of Edward II of England and decided to start writing about the "undergrowth of history", beginning with THE DEATH OF A KING, published in 1985. Since then, Paul has written nearly 100 books and has published a series of outstanding historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages, Classical Greece, Ancient Egypt and elsewhere. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and are available in several formats, including large print, audio books, and more recently e-books.

He has been published under several pseudonyms: C. L. Grace, Paul Harding, Michael Clynes, Ann Dukthas and Anna Apostolou but now writes only under his own name. Paul has also written a number of non-fiction titles, among them: ISABELLA AND THE STRANGE DEATH OF EDWARD II, a scholarly study of The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303, THE SECRET LIFE OF ELIZABETH I, and a study of the mystery surrounding the death of Alexander the Great.
Paul lectures for a number of organisations, particularly on historical mysteries, many of which later feature in his writings. A born speaker and trained lecturer Paul loves to tell stories and "bring history to life."

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Countinued excellence... 14 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been looking forward to this book since Doherty started writing the 'Sorrowful Mysteries' series again and had this on order from the moment it hit the catalogue. I wasn't disappointed. It was a long wait between 10 and 11, but thankfully less than a year between Bloodstone (Brother Athelstan Mediaeval Mysteries) and The Straw Men (Creme De La Crime). Doherty in his many guises, Paul Harding and Michael Clynes being two, is an wonderful writer of 14th - 16th century mysteries. The plot is fairly well detailed above and I'm not going to describe it in any more detail and spoil the story. What is engaging about this particular series is the interaction between the main characters and the fantastically detailed and vivid descriptions of 14th century life. You can hear, taste, smell, feel and (almost) see (certainly picture) the scenes of medieval London, Hardings ability to describe London life of the time is almost Dickins like, as is his penchant for wonderfully evocative names.

The background to the stories is real. The machinations of John of Gaunt; regent to his brothers son - King Richard II, the Great Community of the Realm and the discontent of the masses; the rumours of Gaunt's legitimacy and his grip on the reigns of power, are elegantly and eloquently woven into a murder mystery that doesn't fully reveal itself until the final pages and although some of it is dedeuceable on the "eliminate the impossible and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" principle there are still some final twists and turns in the full explanation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murders and Mayhem! 4 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sir John and Brother Athelstan have another set of murders to unravel. The straw men are invited to act for the Regent, John of Gaunt and, his nephew King Richard. However it is not long, before the murders commence and, cunningly devised too.
If you like mediaeval mysteries whilst also enjoying the many clourful parishioners that Athelstan has,not to mention the royal politics. you will find thid book hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 1 Feb 2013
Anything by Paul Doherty gets my vote. The man is a genius and this was way too long in the making! More please!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Straw Men 3 Nov 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
I picked up another Brother Athelstan mystery recently, and enjoyed it so much that I got this one out to read. This is the twelfth of the Brother Athelstan mysteries, set in January 1381. The growing tension between the regency of John of Gaunt over the boy king Richard II and the Upright Men with the threats of uprisings, brutal murders, and retribution for all is captured brilliantly. There is a deep undercurrent of threatening violence in every page of the book, even when Athelstan and his friend John Cranston are moving through the city on their business. The story of the murders, of the spies and the plotting of all parties is direct and specific; but it is part of a much larger tale of the war between povery and power which is moving towards its bloody conclusion in these Athelstan stories and in the late fourteenth century English setting. I can't wait for the next one to see what happens next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The darkest book so far in this series 7 Aug 2013
By Annie W
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston have worked together over the years through much laughter, affectionate abuse, a burning indignation on Athelstan's part to see the treatment and living conditions of his parishioners vastly improved, and an equally keen sense of reform expressed by Sir John in his Great Treatise on the city. There have been serious moments outlining the death of Athelstan's brother and the loss of Sir John's first child - although, since both of these were in the past, before the series started, they were tragic, but remote. Powerful descriptions have been provided in each novel of the contrasting living conditions between the rich merchants and nobility of the city and the desperate efforts of the poor to survive, and even with the stirrings of what has yet to become "The Peasants' Revolt", there has not been the sense of rapidly-approaching chaos and darkness that is apparent in "The Straw Men".

This latest book is filled with attacks, betrayals, murders, and an immediacy that emphasises the uncertainty of who can be trusted, wherever they stand in the hierarchy. There are even several versions of Dr Doherty's favourite 'locked room' murders, although some of the methods are not unfamiliar from his past writings.

By taking Athelstan and Sir John and largely isolating them from the bulk of the usual characters of Southwark, then piling murder on murder, and alarm on alarm, it is almost as though the reader is living through events as they happen, as opposed to previous investigations into much more impersonal murders, and this time we recognise the tension, terror, and sheer tiredness of the pair, as they have to struggle to make sense of events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and captivating 29 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved this book, really kept my interest all the way through. Really liked the notion of players, and the part they played - won't say more as it might give away the plot. Sort of had echoes of a modern day story - death and betrayal, espionage, and who do you believe etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Amother good read
Good but rather involved - I needed to llok back in the book occasionally - quite difficut with a kindle.
Published 5 months ago by Gwen Rawlinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brother Athelstan
Another Brother Athelstan story with the usual characters - the strange congregation and his one eyed cat along with Sir John. Read more
Published 5 months ago by L. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Athelstan and Cranston
Another great read for fans of the medieval detective duo. Cranston is that times version of Dalziel. Can't wait for the next book.
Published 6 months ago by sophie's choice
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent as usual
you canalwaysexpect a good story with Mr Doherty and this one did not disopoint. the usual mystery untill the end keeps you on your toes to try and solve the mystery before... Read more
Published 7 months ago by pauline ransford
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much emphasis on life at these times which detracts from the...
He places too much emphasis on the conditions of life for ordinary people of the time to the detriment of the story.
Published 7 months ago by Freda G
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining with a reservation
Entertaining as usual, but the plots are following similar patterns and I feel Paul may be exchanging quality for quantity, however, conversely, i still enjoyed the book.
Published 8 months ago by 2011lennyb
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Doherty is back - a great read
I am actually a big fan of Paul Doherty and his writing. But I have to admit the last books he published were quite a disappointment. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amelrode
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love Athelstan
I love reading about Brother Athelstan and all his very individual parishioners. I am delighted that Paul Doherty has started to write more stories about them all.
Published 10 months ago by s a murton
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back
Delighted to welcome back Brother Athestan-he has been missed. A well written,gripping novel-don't know who 'did it' until the end
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid Doherty
I hadn't read one of these Brother Athelstan novels in awhile. And this one doesn't disappoint either. Nice balance of
fiction and fact, suspense and characterization.
Published 11 months ago by E. C Goodstein
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