If, like me, you like your whoddunits with a historical flavour, you will enjoy this, and other stories of Sir ( Crowner ) John de Wolfe, his man-at-arms Glyn of Poldruan, who fought with him in the Crusades and is now returned with him to this country, and his clerk, Thomas de Payne, ( literate, numerate, and curious rather than courageous ) taken on as a favour to a clerical friend. Amidst the corruption and intrigue of the times when Richard Lionheart was abroad, spending money on wars, and another John, "Lackland", was at home plotting to take over the throne, you may well wonder how someone who is so essentially honest and loyal to Richard can survive till the end of the story.
The "manor" of the title is not just an upmarket fortified dwelling for a local "nibs", it comprises all the land and facilities, such as seaports, which fall under its jurisdiction, and where various matters come under Sir John's scrutiny - including a dead whale! To help new-comers to the genre and times, Bernard Knight provides ample notes and Glossary entries and explanation of why the written language is ( mostly ) modern English. Our illiterate Knight must have spoken at least five diverse languages fluently, and used a mix of
them in his everyday speech.
So, never mind me, read and enjoy for yourself. If you want more commentary, also see my review ofCrowner Royal (A Crowner John Mystery)