Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Deadly Penance-Maureen Ash

A Deadly Penance

Maureen Ash

Berkley, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425243367

In a freezing February in 1203, Serjeant of the Castle Garrison Ernulf walks the ramparts when he discovers the corpse of visitor Aubrey Tercel, part of the retinue of Peternille de la Haye, sister of the hereditary castellan Nicolaa de la Haye. The victim was obviously shot by a specially made longbow that Nicolaa’s late father gave her. Since the sheriff Gerald Camville is away, Ernulf informs Richard Camville, the son of Gerald and Ernulf. Richard and Ernulf conduct a preliminary investigation before telling Richard’s mom, aunt and cousin Alinor de Humez. They send for the coroner Pinchbeck who arrives to collect a fee for the death, but also claims that he is busy so Richard should investigate.

Nicolaa asks the Templar Preceptor d’Arderon if Knight Bascot de Marins can help with a homicide inquiry as he has solved murder mysteries before (see Shroud of Dishonor and Murder for Christ’s Mass) Thus he comes to Lincoln Castle to team up with Richard and Alinor, and assisted by Gianni who he brought with him from the Italian streets. The obvious culprit is Simon Adgate the furrier who’s much younger wife Clarice acts like her lover died. However, the case proves much more complicated with the roots born in 1177.

For the first quarter of the latest Templar Knight mystery, Bascot does not appear as Richard and Ernulf start the investigation. The four detectives make a wonderful team as their discussions are intelligent and relevant. Fans of medieval cozies, set in a vividly described background in which readers will feel the cold, will enjoy A Deadly Penance.

Harriet Klausner

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