4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2009
This is the 3rd in Paul Doherty's series of books about the life and times of Sir John Cranston, Kings Coroner of London, and his secretarius Brother Athelstan. One of the pleasures of crime novels set in the past, before all the scientific aids so beloved of programmes such as C.S.I., is that the detective has to rely on his own abilities. Doherty also uses a ploy I first came across in the 'Judge Dee' books of Robert Gulik, where Sir John has to cope with several cases at the same time. This adds variety to the story and enables a broad picture of life in those times to be painted, from the hightest strata of the court to the lowest streets in London. This is a book that for lovers of this genre is well worth adding to your reading list.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2000
Trapped into accepting the wager at a diplomatic banquet by the powerful Regent, John of Gaunt, Sir John Cranston, The Lord Coroner of London, is challenged to resolve a murder mystery within two weeks. Desparing at the hopelessness of the situaiton, he askes assistance from his friend and scribe, Brother Athelstan. Here the author manages to superbly recreate the intruigues of the English court at that time, however, the Dominican has more problems of his own to deal with. At his parich church, renovation work at the sanctuary has unearthed a skeleton, which his parishoners believe is the body of a saint. Added to this are the inreasing number of Friars being murder at the Dominican Priory and once again Doherty has created a marvellous blend of history and fiction that will keep the reader engrossed for hours.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2000
In this 3rd book in the Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan series, Doherty, under the name of Paul Harding, has Brother Athelstan and the Lord Coroner Cranston faced with three separate mysteries which they must solve concurrently. Sub-plots involving the young King Richard and his uncle John of Gaunt and the question of whether Athelston's secret love, the beautiful widow Benedicta, is really a widow, and the lively squabbles of Athelston's unruly parishioners give the book a depth and the characters a life beyond the pages. My only complaint is that these books aren't available here in the USA, and I have to put requests in to my library for inter-library loans and pray that they can find it!