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Murder Most Medieval: Noble Tales of Ignoble Demises
by Brendan DuBois, Clayton Emery, Doug Allyn, Edward Marston, Ellis Peters, Gillian Linscott, John Helfers, Kathy Lynn Emerson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lillian Stewart Carl, Margaret Frazer, Martin H. Greenberg, Michael Jecks, Peter Tremayne, Tony Geraghty
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Valley of the Shadow, The Dove of Death, The Chalice of Blood, Behold a Pale Horse, The Murderer's Tale, The Seventh Trumpet, Atonement of Blood, Games Creatures Play, The Second Death, Shadowed Souls.
An anthology of thirteen tales of medieval murder from low to high and with justice in between.
“Like a Dog Returning” (Sister Fidelma, 5.5??)
“Country of the Blind” (Tallifer, x.5)
“A Light on the Road to Woodstock” (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, 0.5)
Peter Tremayne‘s “Like a Dog Returning” is a dip into Sister Fidelma’s travels in which she detects the true murderer of a much-beloved nun murdered 20 years earlier bringing justice to the memory of a monk wrongfully lynched. I have no idea as to what the title refers.
The bio at the back claims this story was first published after Spider’s Web, #5.
Doug Allyn‘s “Country of the Blind” is a sweet, odd tale of the past, present, and future life of a young blind girl with the sweetest singing voice. Life begun in a convent, lost when the convent is fired, and retrieved for a life on the road as a minstrel with Bard Owain Phyfe. My only peeve was Allyn’s constant use of the phrase Country of the Blind.
Lillian Stewart Carl‘s “Cold as Fire” finds Geoffrey caught between a rock and a hard place when a sheriff arrests one of Thomas Becket’s priests for the murder of Johanna Frelonde of Estursete and he has to inform the archbishop. The evidence is against Father Baldwin, but circumstance and gossip require further digging.
Gillian Linscott‘s “A Horse for My Kingdom” is another case of greed for power and wealth when a plot is hatched to prevent peace before the battle at Mortimer’s Cross. And a gift makes the future bright for a man.
Margaret Frazer‘s “Simple Logic of It All” is both bitter and funny as Frazer exposes us to the machinations of court with the verbose use of logic destroying a plot to make the Duke of York appear treasonous.
Clayton Emery‘s “Plucking a Mandrake” drops us into a difficult time in Robin Hood and Marian’s life when they are consulting a healer about their difficulty in conceiving a child. From bystanders to active participants, they expose the corruption in a small village caused by its mad priest.
Edward Marston‘s “A Gift from God” is an underhanded plot to satisfy a spoiled brat of a man who thinks he can take what he likes only to come up against a couple who consider each other A Gift from God.
Tony Geraghty‘s “Queen’s Chastity” is an odd and confusing one. It tells of a bit of gossip about Queen Eleanor and a supposed infidelity interspersed with a modern email correspondence between rival theorists. I didn’t really see the point of it.
Kathy Lynn Emerson‘s “Reiving of Bonville Keep” was a nice treat after the previous story and read more like a romance as Sir Gavin Dunnett rescues his young daughter and a young maiden from certain death at the hands of a conniving slut.
Michael Jeck‘ “For the Love of Old Bones” throws a number of red herrings into the plot before the murder of Abbot Bertrand de Surgères, the former Sir Bertrand de Toulouse, is solved. Admittedly, his errand to Launceston was one of greed as his abbey in France intended to take the saint’s bones away for their own profit.
Brendan DuBoi‘ “Wizard of Lindsay Woods” is just plain sad to see how a brother would treat another. It begins and ends with greed when Lord Henry gains ownership of Lindsay Woods but a wizard is preventing his use of it. A wizard who kills from a distance!
There’s a bit of a time-travel feel to this. You’ll appreciate the ending!
Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s “Improvements” truly is an improvement at least for this manor when the widowed Maude takes a firm hand in the treatment of whores. Go Maudie!
Ellis Peter‘ “A Light on the Road to Woodstock” explains Cadfael’s actions just before he enters the monastery when he is returning to England from war in Normandy with Sir Roger Mauduit and agrees to stay on through a court dispute Sir Roger has with the abbey of Shrewsbury.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a deep forest green with a two-inch band of black at the top. The “Medieval” is in a Gothic script with a well-hammered bronze weapon that appears to be the hilt of a sword with one side of the railroad spike-looking crossguard shaped as a dagger’s point curve downward and dripping blood.
The title is accurate enough for all the murders are set in medieval settings.