My only previous experience of the medieval murder mystery genre was Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Mind you, if it hadn't been for the fact that the author of The Sins of the Father is a friend of mine, it's unlikely I would have picked this up. I'm pleased I did, though: I found it equally enjoyable. No grizzled ex-soldier-turned-monk at the centre of this book: our hero is a young man, Edwin Weaver, thrust into adult responsibilities by a high-profile murder at his Lord's castle and the impending death of his own father, whose footsteps Edwin fears he will never fill.
Interestingly, then, rather than being yet another misfit loner, the type who seems to populate so much detective fiction, Edwin - although he does display the lightest touches of what none of his contemporaries would have called neuro-atypicality - turns to his friends and acquaintances for support in solving the crime. Their different talents and experience complement one another to make sense of the leads which are uncovered, although the author skilfully sows red herrings into the mix. The key piece of the jigsaw is revealed perhaps a little too conveniently, but overall the mystery aspect of the novel is solidly crafted.
As for the historical aspects, Hanley is an expert in this period, although her knowledge is worn lightly; she deftly creates a convincing impression of the time. The past, famously, is another country, where things are done differently. What struck me reading this was how recognisable, even modern, the characters were in some respects - e.g. a traumatised veteran - yet how alien in others: the unquestioned certainty in religious belief, for example, or the massive differences in status which existed in a feudal society.
So both the important properties of a historical detective novel are handled in a very satisfying manner. The door is left open for further books about Edwin, and I very much hope these will be forthcoming.