Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Clever plotting and interesting characters.
on 4 June 2014
What an absolutely wonderful reading experience this book was for me. I read lots and lots of mysteries, trying to choose historical pieces when possible. This is the first historical mystery written by Denise Domning, though not her first published novel. As evidenced by this book, I think she is quite an accomplished author. I absolutely loved the fact that she had her characters investigating almost the entire time span of this book. So often novels set in this time period (twelfth century England) get bogged down in details of what life was like. I am thrilled to say there was not one recounting of a chamber pot being emptied over pedestrians as they walked along the roadway, no privy or latrine descriptions, and no rats running across people as they tried to sleep. Mentioning those items isn't a bad thing, fixating on them happens all too often in some books and that can simply ruin that book for me.
I think it was very clever of Ms. Domning to allow the reader to learn the duties of The Keeper of the Pleas, coronaries, or crowner along with a twenty-four year old penniless second son just back from the crusades, Sir Faucon de Ramis. This way Brother Edmund, a Benedictine monk acting as legal scribe, can acquaint the reader as well as Sir Faucon with laws and rules of office without the information seeming to be pulled directly from research books. Brother Edmund and Sir Faucon are called very quickly to investigate the death of the miller in a nearby village and arrive just in time to keep the sheriff of the shire from declaring the death an accident. Upon close investigation it is shown to be much different than an accidental death and having far reaching consequences.
This is the first novel in a series and there is a story going on in the background which is not resolved, but will carry over into another book. This wasn't presented so much as a cliffhanger as a method for showing that Sir Faucon's work regarding what is happening in this small community is not entirely settled yet. This first novel was so impressive it makes me want to be sure I'm ready to read any future books which follow in this series.
I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.