The Sticklepath Strangler Hardcover – 1 Nov 2001
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TRAITOR OF ST GILES:
'Colourful the medieval world might have been, courtly and glamorous, but Michael Jecks exposes the seething hatreds, the primitive passions and the latent brutality lurking below the surface' Northern Echo
'Absorbing, light-hearted' Birmingham Post
BELLADONNA AT BELSTONE:
'A commendable achievement' Kirkus Reviews
'Jecks draws his characters with a craftsman's hand, evokes atmosphere with the touch of an old master and keeps you wriggling on the hook of suspense as skilfully as Christie at her best. Enjoyable to the very end' Northern Echo
'Wickedly exciting' Newcastle Evening Chronicle
SQUIRE THROWLEIGH'S HEIR:
'An inventive plot, memorable characters, steadily absorbing period background' Kirkus Reviews
'SQUIRE THROWLEIGH'S HEIR...[is] one of the most wickedly plotted medieval mystery novels' The Times
'Jecks has a real knack of bringing to life the medieval era of the West Country...SQUIRE THROWLEIGH'S HEIR has enough twists and turns to satisfy everybody... An excellent adddtion to the series' Shots
'A very well told story with a violent yet convincing plot. Jecks succeeds in writing both a book which smells of the Middle Ages and yet is a detective story. No mean feat' Crime Time
Praise for Michael Jecks:
'More superlative stuff from Jecks' NORTH LONDON NEWS
"A neatly constructed tale . . ."
". . . an absorbing page-turner . . ."
"The combination of Jecks's historical research, his caring descriptions of
the Devon countryside, his neat way of drawing characters, are shown to their
best advantage in this book." SHOTS
'A tortuous and exciting plot... The construction of the story and the sense of period are excellent' Shots
'A gem of historical storytelling...authentic recreation of the modes and manners, superstitions and primitive fears that made up the colourful but brutal tableau of the Middle Ages' Northern Echo
'Girt about with a goodly helping of period authenticity...ends up with a thrilling cop and robber chase on horseback' Oxford Times
'A goodly tale in the vein of Cadfael, and equally enjoyable' Coventry Evening Telegraph
'Like Ellis Peters' Cadfael, Puttock is a carefully drawn character who combines the whodunnit format with a loving attention to detail, with lively, intriguing descriptions. It...will help you turn back the pages of history and enjoy the depth and texture of a long-vanished England' Croydon Advertiser
'A medieval mystery to rank with the best' Northern Echo
'Brisk medieval whodunnit' Literary Review
'Tremendously successful medieval mystery series' Sunday Independent
'Jecks' knowledge of medieval history is impressive and is used here to good effect' Crime Time
Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Simon Puttock battle ghosts and vampires in medieval England in the 'Tremendously successful medieval mystery series' Sunday IndependentSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm glad I did.
Full of atmosphere and drive, the plot was simple enough - a small village in Devon comes under the scrutiny of the local Coroner and his friend, the King's Keeper of Peace. A skull has been found which may be the remains of a young woman who disappeared a short while ago. The village is small and it isn't long before recriminations are flying since everyone has secrets they'd rather be forgotten. The community has remained silent over a serial killer in their midst.
The characters are full, the personalities utterly believable, the plot - as it emerges - is both intriguing and chilling. This isn't a modern thriller dressed in chainmail; this is a vivid tale of what might've happened in this country at this time in history. Jecks has a track record of providing accurate history while painting a "living" portrait of people which keeps the reader reading.
This was my first Michael Jecks book - bought on a whim. I was immediately driven to read the series, beginning with "The Last Templar", and I'm still buying the books.
It didn't bother me that there were a few small references to the book that preceded this one in the series. Although a murder was briefly mentioned there were no spoilers - if anything it's simply made me want to read it. There is clearly no need to read the series in order, the description of the main recurring characters are solid and realistic enough without needing to jump straight back to book 1.
Some reviewers were unhappy with some of the themes covered. True, the butchering of children and cannibalism aren't the nicest of topics, but the description of the bodies was not unnecessarily gruesome or disrepectful, and I felt that the consequences of the murders was dealt with well, especially the reactions of the villagers. In the 13th century people were genuinely god-fearing, and their belief would not let them contemplate the fact that 'one of them' could kill and eat children, so naturally they were convinced something supernatural would have to have been involved. Their system of 'justice' shown at the beginning of the story would surely have been a natural reaction true of the time, especially during famine, but barbaric and unfair to us today.Read more ›
The book also seems to be very drawn out and would be improved by some judicious cutting.
It started with the death of young girls, and the accusation of cannibalism, the murder of an innocent man and his curse on the village. Now a young girl's skull has been found and Sir Baldwin de Fernshill, Keeper of the King's Peace, Bailiff Simon Puttock and Coroner Roger de Gidleigh travel to the village of Sticklepath; a place of death and secrets. The death toll keeps rising.
Jecks is so good at not only establishing a sense of time and place, but creating an atmosphere. The depth and extent of his research is always evident.
He clearly expresses the hardship and cruelty of life from disease, nature, as well as the abuses by those in power and the extent to which the desperate can be driven. In spite of the power of the Catholic Church over people lives, this is still a time of superstition and fear of witches and spirits. Jecks' Author's Notes at the beginning of the book are informative and interesting.
Having a Cast of Characters is such an asset and I'm glad Jecks included it. Even without it, the characters are distinctive and memorable, particularly the two protagonists; Baldwin and Simon. They are friends but, due to their backgrounds and experiences, very different in outlook and attitude. Baldwin is an ex-Templar knight and who's experiences have resulted in his being more accepting and open minded. This book is filled with characters, quite a few are very unpleasant, yet I never identified the killer.
This brings me to the plot. In some ways, I found it so depressing, it was hard to get through. If anything I felt Jecks was so caught up in bringing the period to life, he lost the tautness of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Typical Murder mystery novel from Michael Jecks, have read nearly all the books I have about another 6 to readPublished 10 months ago by Ed
As usual very good. No idea whodunit until the last few pages.Published 13 months ago by Veteranfrodo
I have the entire series and other titles by Jecks. I am so glad that it is being reprinted in paper as well as e-book format! I have never been displeased with Jecks' works.Published 20 months ago by A_Bookaholic
This author always gives a great account of life in Medieval. You can smell the filth the people live in, feel the fleas nipping, smell the booze on breath. Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2014 by Kindle Customer
Happy to recommend to anyone who enjoys historical who dunnits. Well written and have now acquired all the kindle books.Published on 20 Sept. 2013 by Liz