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on 11 December 2010
This novel cleverly interweaves fiction with historical fact to create an excellent medieval whodunit. It includes a rich cast of characters authentically created, and paints realistic scenes of 13th century life of within the walls of Conisborough Castle as well as that of the peasants living outside. It is traditional mystery story in the sense that a murder takes place within a closed community and there are a number of possible culprits, which maintains the interest of the reader right up until the denouement.

The impact opening of the murder of a child immediately hooks the reader, creating suspense throughout the novel, until the final revelation of the importance of the act and who the child was, facts which are critical to the action of the story.

The author has a prodigious understanding of the history of the period and her knowledge filters seamlessly into the novel. Facts which are essential to the understanding of the plot are introduced skilfully into the narrative, without obvious `telegraphing'.

Because of the period in which this novel is set there is no reliance upon modern methods of detection. All the detective work has to be done by piecing together and appreciating the significancece of small incidents and conversations, all reliant on the intelligence of Edwin Weaver, the lad appointed by Earl William de Warrenne. In Edwin Weaver Ms Hanley has created a character worthy of a sequel, indeed, several sequels.

The quality of the writing is excellent and makes the book a pleasure to read. I look forward to more medieval mysteries by Catherine Hanley.
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VINE VOICEon 30 June 2015
This is the first novel in a trilogy of Medieval murder mysteries set during the civil war around the time of the death of King John, from which I unwittingly read the second instalment recently. I enjoyed this first novel even more and Edwin is a likeable and sensitive central character, the son of a village bailiff trying to make sense of his role in the world of noble intrigue into which he is thrust. The other characters are also well drawn and there are a lot of poignant observations about the harshness and inequality of life that strike Edwin as he tries to solve a murder whose origins stretch back 14 years to John's struggle work his nephew Arthur to hold on to the English throne. Good stuff.
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on 9 November 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I was gripped from the start and enjoyed the way the plot evolved and turned - one particular twist sticks in my mind, but I won't spoil it! I also liked the fact that the mystery is set in medieval times and I leant some interesting things about the period.
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on 5 September 2012
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. The characters are believable and the age is brought to life amazingly well, to the point that you can almost smell the halls, the stables, Edwin's parents' cottage. I found it to be one of those books where you forget that you are actually reading and become effortlessly absorbed into the story and its protagonists' thoughts and movements, hearing all the background noises of the scenes described. It is, as it calls itself, a mediaeval mystery and a good, plausible one at that. It is most touching how Edwin Weaver accomplishes his detective task despite personal tragedy and how he grows during the story into the character that I am hoping will be the basis of sequels. I particularly loved his "Columbo" moment when turned back again with "just one more thing" to those he had just questioned.
More of the same please!
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on 17 August 2009
It is one of those books that grabs you from the very first page. Keeps you guessing. I could almost imagine myself actually being there. Didn't want to put it down. The writer brought the characters to life and gave me an insight into the way people lived and worked in that era. Would highly recommend. One criticism the book is not easy to hold - it is a tall and thin book rather than short and fat like most paperbacks - so found it floppy and akward to hold.
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on 26 January 2015
A clever novel which describes the ways of life in the middle ages, the differences between the common people and the power and majesty of the nobility. The story is both intriguing and clever with a surprising ending.
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on 4 October 2012
. In this novel we meet Edwin Weaver, the young son of the bailiff at Conisbrough Castle, Yorkshire. It is the year 1217. Edwin is set the task of solving the mystery of who murdered the Earl of Sheffield while he was visiting the castle in just a couple of days- and he's not short of suspects! The action of the novel is set against the backdrop of civil war between the protector of the new boy king Henry III, William Marshal, and the lords who are in support of Louis of France.

As well as meeting Edwin at Conisbrough, we meet his Lord, William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey; his sister Isabelle and her maid, Joanna; Edwin's friends- Robert, Simon and Martin, the Earls' pages; Sir Geoffrey, an older knight who is one of Edwin's father's friends; Father Ignatius, the village priest and Simon's teacher; and later the Earl of Sheffield and his younger brother. These characters are well developed within the story, and their personalities really shine through the pages.

The scenes and characters are very authentic; their personalities, attitudes and character traits are realistic for the time.

In addition to the brilliant scene setting and excellent period detail, Hanley can write a thumping good story. This mystery is a real page turner, with several plot twists throughout. I was hooked from the prologue, which is mysterious and intriguing. The prologue becomes part of the bigger story later on, with everything coming together into a surprising conclusion. Hanley is a gifted storyteller, with her words flowing beautifully from the page. In fact, I can't think of one thing I disliked about the novel, it was excellent. Five stars! I sincerely hope there is a sequel.
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on 19 October 2015
When is the next one out?

Love this series, accidentally came across the author on twitter and followed her for a good while before trying the books. I wish I had read the books earlier, they are a good read and I will be recommending them to lots of people. It does help that I am interested in the era and locality of which they are set but still well written and well thought out. I do hope that Hanley will be rather prolific and keep me provided with historical fiction for many years
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on 31 July 2016
Book Summary:
Set in England in 1217, Sins of the Father follows Edwin Weaver, the son of the bailiff at Conisbrough Castle, who finds himself thrust into an unfamiliar world when his father is taken ill and the Earl asks him to step into his role. In the midst of the civil war, Edwin is tasked with solving a murder in just two days…

Review:
C.B. Hanley’s extensive knowledge and research shows through in this gripping medieval mystery. The descriptions and characters are captivating and catapult the reader back in time, into the realm of castles, knights and sword fights.

The novel moves forward at a steady pace, drawing the reader in as we follow Edwin’s investigation. By seeing the castle, the Earl and his family, the knights and the impending battle of the civil war through Edwin’s eyes, C.B. Hanley cleverly enables us to learn with Edwin. The history and explanations of the workings of the castle and its subjects are fitted discreetly into the story, enabling the reader to gradually understand this world as Edwin does.

The relationships between the characters are moving and the mystery is enthralling. The plot twists kept me guessing throughout the entire book, until the surprising, yet gratifying conclusion as all the pieces fall together and the murderer is revealed.
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on 7 February 2016
I have started many and many series of books in this genre, enjoyed them moderately, considered reading the next in the series but then had my head turned by something with more potential. Not this time. This time I am heading straight for the next title in the adventures of Edwin and company and nothing is going to get in the way, short of a new Tolkien which seems somewhat unlikely. This is very well written, both technically and narratively, and the characters are compelling and likeable. The style is engaging and the plot twist at the end is stunning in its impact and in the way it is conveyed. I seldom give five star reviews but in this case I would have given six if I could. Bring on the next volume!
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