Top critical review
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3.5 Stars - Wonderful historic detail, somewhat abrupt ending
on 9 April 2009
First Sentence: The first of the murders which so shook the Cathedral passed with little comment.
Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace, and his wife Jeannie, travel to Exeter, meeting up with their friend Bailiff Simon Puttock. The two men have been summoned to receive jeweled gloves in recognition of their service.
They arrive to find Ralph, the glove maker, has been murdered and his apprentice is in jail. Neither Furnshill nor Simon believes he's guilty. When a Secondary at the cathedral dies of poisoning during a service, the city Coroner asks Furnshill and Baldwin to find who's behind the deaths.
Since I'm reading one book each month in this series, I'll be inclined to repeat myself. But some things bear repeating.
From the glossary, through information on the Regulations for the Boy-Bishop at Exeter Cathedral after Bishop Grandisson c 1130 (translated from the Latin by Margaret Cash), the Cast of Characters and the Author's Notes, you know this is a very well researched book and series. But where this could cause a book to be dry, Jecks uses that information to create a strong, rich sense of time and place.
The beginning of the book is wonderfully visual. It is almost as if one is watching a drawing evolve, one detail at a time. Jecks' plots always have a number of threads and twists. In this book, I did feel the ending was very abrupt.
It does take a bit to keep up with the characters at time--hence, the Cast of Characters--but it is so well worth it. One thing I have noticed is that Jecks has changed the character and relationship of the two men, a bit, in a way I don't' particularly care for and the bantering dialogue between them has suffered for it.
However, even for the small flaws, I found myself reading straight through and looking forward to the next book.