Today I’m reviewing a book from the fabulous Brother Athelstan, one of my favourite series ever. Huge thanks to Severn House for letting me have a copy of it to review.
Blurb: A murdered priest, a missing body, stolen treasure: Brother Athelstan tackles his most challenging investigation to date.
October, 1381. Brother Athelstan is summoned to the church of St Benet’s in Queenhithe to investigate the murder of a priest. Parson Reynaud has been found stabbed to death inside his own locked church. Other disturbing discoveries include an empty coffin and a ransacked money chest. Who would commit murder inside a holy church? Who would spirit away a corpse the night before the funeral – and who would be brave enough to steal treasure belonging to the most feared gangleader in London?
Meanwhile, the death of one of Athelstan’s parishioners reveals a shocking secret. Could there be a connection to the murdered priest of St Benet’s?
Athelstan’s investigations will lure him into the dark and dangerous world of the gangmaster known as The Flesher, whose influence has a frighteningly long reach …
My Review: One of my goals for this year was to read more of the Netgalley books I have currently on my kindle and this one has been there for a while. I was thrilled to get a copy of this because I discovered this fabulous series many years ago and loved the characters particularly Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston. The series stopped for a few years and then reappeared unexpectedly. So much so that I need to catch up on a few books I’ve missed.
It was a joy to immerse myself in this world again. Set in 14th Century London the author, as always, has done an amazing job of bringing the sights, smells and sounds of the city to life. Because I already know the series, location and main characters I felt like I was returning home after a long time away. Much has changed and moved on in the time that has passed in the series but some things have remained reassuringly familiar.
The mystery is the usual type that Athelstan has to solve, a locked room murder, and this one is particularly fiendish, not least because there is a personal connection for him and more personal danger than in previous books. These stories are always carefully crafted and this one is no different. There was no hint of who had done it until near the end when it became clear that some things were perhaps not as they seemed. The conclusion was appropriate for the story and the only regret I had on finishing the book was that I hadn’t read it sooner. However, I still have plenty of books to catch up on.
If you love historical crime fiction then this is a series you definitely shouldn’t miss.