Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sanctity of Hate-Priscilla Royal

The Sanctity of Hate

Priscilla Royal

Poisoned Pen, Dec 4 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9781464200205

In 1276 village newcomer Kenelm is found dead in a millpond. Brother Thomas determines that the murder is of a Christian hired to escort and protect Jews and it occurred on the grounds of the Tyndal Priory.

Prioress Eleanor and Crowner Ralf agree to investigate the homicide together. The villagers universally disliked the deceased, but refuse to allow any of them to be accused. Instead they blame a displaced family of three Jews forced to relocate under King Edward’s 1275 Statue of the Jewry. The trio stopped in Tyndal due to the wife’s pregnancy. The townsfolk explain to the investigators that Kenelm and Jacob ben Asser the Jew publically argued and therefore he and his kind killed the Christian. Crowner Ralf disagrees due to the injuries on the deceased makes it doubtful that the Jew assaulted the victim.

The latest Thomas and Eleanor medieval mystery (see Killing Season, Chambers of Death and Valley of Dry Bones) is a super historical that may be the long running series best. The key to this strong saga is “A Season of Hate” decreed and deployed by King Edward who has no further use of the Jewish financial support of him. This anti-Semitic background weaves brilliantly with a strong whodunit in which the villagers including residents of the priory prefer a scapegoat rather than the truth.

Harriet Klausner

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