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The Straw Men (A Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery Book 12) by [Doherty, Paul]
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The Straw Men (A Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery Book 12) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

Close attention will reward readers with well-researched historical information, from the minutiae of everyday living to the public events in the lives of the rich and powerful. Mystery buffs, however, are likely to reach the answer before Athelstan.
Kirkus Reviews on The Straw Men

"Will appeal to John Dickson Carr fans. With dozens of books to his credit, Doherty continues to impress."
Publishers Weekly on The Straw Men

"Doherty mires the grisly action as firmly in mystery as he does the multitiered narrative in the mud, muck, and mayhem of medieval London poised on the brink of the Peasants' Revolt."
Booklist on The Straw Men

About the Author

Paul Doherty studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities, and is now headmaster of a school in Essex. He is the author of more than eighty historical mysteries including the Hugh Corbett, Mathilde of Westminster and Canterbury Tales medieval mystery series.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 860 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital (1 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B781GP2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #123,077 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Kat Man Do TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been looking forward to this book since Doherty started writing the 'Sorrowful Mysteries' series again and had this on order from the moment it hit the catalogue. I wasn't disappointed. It was a long wait between 10 and 11, but thankfully less than a year between Bloodstone (Brother Athelstan Mediaeval Mysteries) and The Straw Men (Creme De La Crime). Doherty in his many guises, Paul Harding and Michael Clynes being two, is an wonderful writer of 14th - 16th century mysteries. The plot is fairly well detailed above and I'm not going to describe it in any more detail and spoil the story. What is engaging about this particular series is the interaction between the main characters and the fantastically detailed and vivid descriptions of 14th century life. You can hear, taste, smell, feel and (almost) see (certainly picture) the scenes of medieval London, Hardings ability to describe London life of the time is almost Dickins like, as is his penchant for wonderfully evocative names.

The background to the stories is real. The machinations of John of Gaunt; regent to his brothers son - King Richard II, the Great Community of the Realm and the discontent of the masses; the rumours of Gaunt's legitimacy and his grip on the reigns of power, are elegantly and eloquently woven into a murder mystery that doesn't fully reveal itself until the final pages and although some of it is dedeuceable on the "eliminate the impossible and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" principle there are still some final twists and turns in the full explanation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston have worked together over the years through much laughter, affectionate abuse, a burning indignation on Athelstan's part to see the treatment and living conditions of his parishioners vastly improved, and an equally keen sense of reform expressed by Sir John in his Great Treatise on the city. There have been serious moments outlining the death of Athelstan's brother and the loss of Sir John's first child - although, since both of these were in the past, before the series started, they were tragic, but remote. Powerful descriptions have been provided in each novel of the contrasting living conditions between the rich merchants and nobility of the city and the desperate efforts of the poor to survive, and even with the stirrings of what has yet to become "The Peasants' Revolt", there has not been the sense of rapidly-approaching chaos and darkness that is apparent in "The Straw Men".

This latest book is filled with attacks, betrayals, murders, and an immediacy that emphasises the uncertainty of who can be trusted, wherever they stand in the hierarchy. There are even several versions of Dr Doherty's favourite 'locked room' murders, although some of the methods are not unfamiliar from his past writings.

By taking Athelstan and Sir John and largely isolating them from the bulk of the usual characters of Southwark, then piling murder on murder, and alarm on alarm, it is almost as though the reader is living through events as they happen, as opposed to previous investigations into much more impersonal murders, and this time we recognise the tension, terror, and sheer tiredness of the pair, as they have to struggle to make sense of events.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this series of books and this is again a rollicking good read, but these later books lack the cosy intimacy of the earlier ones, the loveable Cranston and his background not fully brought to life as in previous books, and Athelstan's engaging parishioners and their continuing stories are again barely mentioned, but I will continue to read this series, hoping to get the magic of the earlier books back.
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I picked up another Brother Athelstan mystery recently, and enjoyed it so much that I got this one out to read. This is the twelfth of the Brother Athelstan mysteries, set in January 1381. The growing tension between the regency of John of Gaunt over the boy king Richard II and the Upright Men with the threats of uprisings, brutal murders, and retribution for all is captured brilliantly. There is a deep undercurrent of threatening violence in every page of the book, even when Athelstan and his friend John Cranston are moving through the city on their business. The story of the murders, of the spies and the plotting of all parties is direct and specific; but it is part of a much larger tale of the war between povery and power which is moving towards its bloody conclusion in these Athelstan stories and in the late fourteenth century English setting. I can't wait for the next one to see what happens next.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sir John and Brother Athelstan have another set of murders to unravel. The straw men are invited to act for the Regent, John of Gaunt and, his nephew King Richard. However it is not long, before the murders commence and, cunningly devised too.
If you like mediaeval mysteries whilst also enjoying the many clourful parishioners that Athelstan has,not to mention the royal politics. you will find thid book hard to put down.
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