Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
Can't wait for a sequel
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.