This book is one in a series by this author with the central characters Sir Baldwin, a survivor of the destruction of the Knights Templar, now the Keeper of the Kings Peace of Crediton in Devon and his friend Simon Puttock a commoner who has worked his way up to Bailiff of the Stannaries ( the mining area of Devon). In each book a mystery has to be solved using the very simple methods that would be available at the time (1300s). The author gives an insight to the way of life of the ordinary people, in such a way as to bring all characters to life and creating the visualization of each rather than as in many novels just the nobility.
Each book stands on its own merits with the central characters seeking the solution to the mystery with its twists and turns leaving the reader trying to pre-solve it. Usually, I discover an author by reading a novel part way through the series with Michael Jecks I found the first and have been glued to both each mystery and the flow of the central characters developments throughout the series. Michael Jecks has that unique talent of being able to build suspense and intrigue and inject humor into his books just as it is needed.
To go into much detail would spoil the flow for anyone who may read this, suffice it to say I would recommend both this book and the series to anyone who likes medieval mysteries and reading about medieval life.
Like the few books of Michael Jecks I've read so far this is excellent in bringing the 1300s to life. His research is occasionally obvious, especially when backstories are given in the context of the wars and politics of the time, but most of the time it is like reading about a foreign land, where they do things differently. Status is paramount, the grime of daily life is given as well as its joys whether that be new cloth, beautiful views or fellowship. People's desire to be pleasing in the eyes of the church and their guilt when they feel they have fallen short is palpable, and he takes you to places rarely in the light - leper colonies, walled gardens and the understairs world of servants. It is a pleasure to read. The story is well paced and intricately plotted, with everything fully explained and not all parts have neat happy endings, especially when relationships break up as a result of uncovered truths. Relationships is another aspect rarely seen in novels such as this - there is a love story building between a wary widow and the fumbling bachelor hero that adds a delightful note to the story and leaves me keen to see it develop over the next books. Given the choice, I think I would have got rid of the dog.
Murder, mayhem, adultery, leprosy, violence, sex, romance, courtship, humour. All part of life in Medieval Crediton as Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and his buddy Simon Puttock try to make sense of the clues in this latest murder mystery from Michael Jeck's. Superbly well researched and written. Fabulous story telling. The Leper's Return (Knights Templar)
I don't know what to say; the fact that I keep reading Michael Jeck's books (and others like them) must mean I'm quite keen on them! Completely hooked in fact! Trouble is, I'm catching up;Mr Jecks better get on and write some more!!!