The Leper's Return (A Medieval West Country Mystery) Paperback – 8 Apr 1999
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A neatly constructed tale...An absorbing page-turner...Jeck's historical research, his loving descriptions of the Devon countryside, his neat way of drawing characters, are shown to their best advantage in this book (Deryn Lake, SHOTS)
'A neatly constructed tale...An absorbing page-turner...Jeck's historical research, his loving descriptions of the Devon countryside, his neat way of drawing characters, are shown to their best advantage in this book' Deryn Lake, SHOTS
The sixth installment in the acclaimed medieval crime mystery seriesSee all Product description
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Michael Jecks has a theme in this novel which involves the plight of lepers and the fairly horrendous attitude towards them which was held in the past. I welcomed the expression of it, even though it makes you cringe! Historical novelists can rarely paint the picture in depth as it really was in the past, because the cruelty towards many sections of society (human and animals) would be too appalling for this type of fiction and its readers. I think he gets the balance just right here. Non-fiction offers no such restraints, of course, if you really want to delve further.
The story is reasonably complex, at least in the motivation of various individuals, and indeed in that of the perpetrators when uncovered. However, it seemed to me that much of the dialogue – especially between the principal characters as they work out ‘who done it’ and ‘why’ - is very stilted. Over-long, repetitive accounts of what may have happened, to explain and reinforce each deduction, began to be tiresome.
Sir Baldwin is atypical in his attitudes, both towards lepers and many other aspects of life in that period. I suppose this is so that we can identify with him, and it serves to ameliorate the actions and opinions of others. But I am not sure if he is convincing, especially in the light of his previous life as a warring knight Templar.
I enjoyed the book to a degree and I might even read another one in the series, but I won’t be seeking them out yet.
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.
Interesting, well thought out story line.
A welcome return of the regular characters, who show their human frailties and personalities. An good story that will have you on tenterhooks till the end.
As always enjoyable and entertaining, yet continues to give a really deep and accurate portrayal of what ordinary life was like away from the maestrom of the Court and the aristocracy.
Waiting for the next one
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.
The Leper's Return (Knights Templar)
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