Saturday, December 26, 2009

Murder for Christ's Mass by Maureen Ash

This is the last of my books to read during the Christmas season.

An excellent historical novel, this book revolves around the murder of a young clerk in the medieval English village of Lincoln. The evidence is such that it seems the clerk has come upon some sort of treasure.  Find the source of the treasure, and you will find the murderer.  Except the whole thing is more complicated than that.  It involves another murder and several surprises, even for the Knight Templar Bascot de Marins and his sidekick Gianni.

This is one in a series of Templar Knight Mysteries.  Not having read the others, I just took this book at face value.  

I marveled at the author's knowledge of the workings of the England in the Middle Ages.  She describes Christmas practices, Medieval social practices, and even the process they use to mint coins.   

I read few historical novels.  My favorites have been Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mysteries.  I've also read several mysteries set in the Civil War.  But, to the best of my knowledge, this is my first foray into the Middle Ages. 

What did I come out with?  A good story with a complicated backstory.  Interesting people and relationships, especially the relationship between the Knight Templar and his sidekick, a handicapped youth.  And a vastly expanded knowledge of the English Middle Ages.

If you enjoy historical mysteries, you should love this book. 

PS When I thought about it later, it occurred to me that I have read a few other mysteries about the Middle Ages, at least one reported on here.  This book was the best of the ones I remember.

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