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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for a sequel
This novel cleverly interweaves fiction with historical fact to create an excellent medieval whodunit. It includes a rich cast of characters authentically created, and paints realistic scenes of 13th century life of within the walls of Conisborough Castle as well as that of the peasants living outside. It is traditional mystery story in the sense that a murder takes...
Published on 11 Dec 2010 by Elsa Halling

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disapointing
I think I was expecting a more flowing development. At times seemed to go around and find nothing new. Not a WOW book!
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for a sequel, 11 Dec 2010
By 
Elsa Halling (Kenilworth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sins of the Father (Paperback)
This novel cleverly interweaves fiction with historical fact to create an excellent medieval whodunit. It includes a rich cast of characters authentically created, and paints realistic scenes of 13th century life of within the walls of Conisborough Castle as well as that of the peasants living outside. It is traditional mystery story in the sense that a murder takes place within a closed community and there are a number of possible culprits, which maintains the interest of the reader right up until the denouement.

The impact opening of the murder of a child immediately hooks the reader, creating suspense throughout the novel, until the final revelation of the importance of the act and who the child was, facts which are critical to the action of the story.

The author has a prodigious understanding of the history of the period and her knowledge filters seamlessly into the novel. Facts which are essential to the understanding of the plot are introduced skilfully into the narrative, without obvious `telegraphing'.

Because of the period in which this novel is set there is no reliance upon modern methods of detection. All the detective work has to be done by piecing together and appreciating the significancece of small incidents and conversations, all reliant on the intelligence of Edwin Weaver, the lad appointed by Earl William de Warrenne. In Edwin Weaver Ms Hanley has created a character worthy of a sequel, indeed, several sequels.

The quality of the writing is excellent and makes the book a pleasure to read. I look forward to more medieval mysteries by Catherine Hanley.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping medieval read, 9 Nov 2009
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R. A. Court (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sins of the Father (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I was gripped from the start and enjoyed the way the plot evolved and turned - one particular twist sticks in my mind, but I won't spoil it! I also liked the fact that the mystery is set in medieval times and I leant some interesting things about the period.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, 17 Aug 2009
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Mrs. G. Kocon (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sins of the Father (Paperback)
It is one of those books that grabs you from the very first page. Keeps you guessing. I could almost imagine myself actually being there. Didn't want to put it down. The writer brought the characters to life and gave me an insight into the way people lived and worked in that era. Would highly recommend. One criticism the book is not easy to hold - it is a tall and thin book rather than short and fat like most paperbacks - so found it floppy and akward to hold.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 24 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Sins of the Father (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It's beautifully written - a cross between Ellis Peters & Lindsey Davis, I think - and the plot is really exciting, keeping me gripped right to the end. I know a bit about the period and it's brilliant to have correct terminology - I don't have to get riled about CHAIN mail and other victorian inventions! Looking forward to the next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction, a great read too., 5 Sep 2012
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Diane K. - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. The characters are believable and the age is brought to life amazingly well, to the point that you can almost smell the halls, the stables, Edwin's parents' cottage. I found it to be one of those books where you forget that you are actually reading and become effortlessly absorbed into the story and its protagonists' thoughts and movements, hearing all the background noises of the scenes described. It is, as it calls itself, a mediaeval mystery and a good, plausible one at that. It is most touching how Edwin Weaver accomplishes his detective task despite personal tragedy and how he grows during the story into the character that I am hoping will be the basis of sequels. I particularly loved his "Columbo" moment when turned back again with "just one more thing" to those he had just questioned.
More of the same please!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and solidly crafted, 23 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Sins of the Father: A Medieval Mystery (A Mediaeval Mystery Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much to enjoy, 31 July 2012
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This is is a pacy and enjoyable story about a crime committed in Conisbrough Castle in 1217. I especially liked the way the politics of the period was seamlessly woven into the plot. The author's expert knowledge of the time was well used, providing fascinating background detail on all levels of society. Another aspect to be enjoyed was the hero, the below-the-salt bailiff's son, Edwin Weaver, with his shy intelligence. In fact, I could have done with a stronger focus on Edwin perhaps at the expense of some of the minor characters, but that's a quibble. I understand that this is the first book of a trilogy. I shall be back for the other two.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, 20 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Sins of the Father: A Medieval Mystery (A Mediaeval Mystery Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This was one of several books I downloaded on my kinddle to take on holiday. Wasn't sure what to expect, became so engrosed had trouble putting it down. Took me two days, was worth it.
Would highly recommend this.
Shall be looking to get some more of this authors books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent medieval mystery, 4 Oct 2012
. In this novel we meet Edwin Weaver, the young son of the bailiff at Conisbrough Castle, Yorkshire. It is the year 1217. Edwin is set the task of solving the mystery of who murdered the Earl of Sheffield while he was visiting the castle in just a couple of days- and he's not short of suspects! The action of the novel is set against the backdrop of civil war between the protector of the new boy king Henry III, William Marshal, and the lords who are in support of Louis of France.

As well as meeting Edwin at Conisbrough, we meet his Lord, William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey; his sister Isabelle and her maid, Joanna; Edwin's friends- Robert, Simon and Martin, the Earls' pages; Sir Geoffrey, an older knight who is one of Edwin's father's friends; Father Ignatius, the village priest and Simon's teacher; and later the Earl of Sheffield and his younger brother. These characters are well developed within the story, and their personalities really shine through the pages.

The scenes and characters are very authentic; their personalities, attitudes and character traits are realistic for the time.

In addition to the brilliant scene setting and excellent period detail, Hanley can write a thumping good story. This mystery is a real page turner, with several plot twists throughout. I was hooked from the prologue, which is mysterious and intriguing. The prologue becomes part of the bigger story later on, with everything coming together into a surprising conclusion. Hanley is a gifted storyteller, with her words flowing beautifully from the page. In fact, I can't think of one thing I disliked about the novel, it was excellent. Five stars! I sincerely hope there is a sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery in mysterious times, 11 Sep 2012
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An excellent first novel. You can almost imagine yourself there. Description of real place and time very believable. Story had a few good twists.
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