Books by Ian Morson

A DEADLY INJUSTICE by Ian Morson
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Nick's second case is best read for the historical detail rather than the ponderous mystery.

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A Venetian Investigator for the Mongol Emperor is given a difficult case to solve. Read full book review >
FALCONER’S TRAIL by Ian Morson
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

"Another intriguing look at medieval Oxford and its mores, wrapped up in a sturdy mystery."
Not even Regent Masters of Oxford are safe from accusations of murder. Read full book review >
FALCONER AND THE RITUAL OF DEATH by Ian Morson
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

"This welcome return of the long-dormant Falconer series is a pleasantly simplified but intriguing look at historical Oxford, spiced with a dash of romance."
1271. A long-dead body is discovered in a building being removed to make way for a college in Oxford. Read full book review >
A PSALM FOR FALCONER by Ian Morson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 12, 1997

At Oxford University, in the mid-13th century, Regent Master William Falconer (Falconer and the Face of God, 1997, etc.) has undertaken a journey to Conishead Priory on remote Lancaster Bay- -the intent being to study the scientific tomes in the collection of Bishop Grossteste, now belonging to library of the Priory. He leaves just before the unheralded arrival of his friend Ann Segrim and the discovery, at nearby Godstow Abbey, of a murdered young nun. Falconer, guided on foot across the tidal bay by the young son of Ellen Shokburn, longtime worker at the Priory, finds a mare's nest of secrets behind the monastic life of dawn-to-dusk prayers. The immediate puzzle is the whereabouts of books missing from the collection, and librarian Brother Ralph Westerdale provides little help. Prior Henry Ussher, meanwhile, is absorbed in his ambition for higher office and seemingly stunned when the 15-year-old skeleton of Brother John de Landetoft, his onetime rival for the Priorship, emerges from the sands of the bay. Back in Oxford, Ann Segrim has determined to solve the mystery at Godstow Abbey, with the help of Falconer's old friend Constable Peter Bullock—and, despite the autocratic opposition of Abbess Lady Gwladys, she manages to do just that. At the Priory another murder has taken place, and Falconer's physical stamina is sorely tested in the treacherous shoals before he finds answers to murders old and new. More than enough church ritual, shadowy figures, spooky noises, and tidal lore, all couched in stiff and stately prose. Fine fare for lovers of the ecclesiastical; for others, a rather dull slog. Read full book review >
FALCONER AND THE FACE OF GOD by Ian Morson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 13, 1997

His exiled mentor Roger Bacon has asked Oxford Regent Master William Falconer to find an unnamed local alchemist, but he's given Falconer only the most cryptic of clues to the man's identity. By the time Falconer finds the alchemist, he's already been rounded up with 20 other suspected thieves by King Henry II and his venal, obsequious courtier, Thomas de Cantilupe. While waiting for a Christmastide Lord of Misrule to release the unjustly jailed suspect, Falconer can turn his attention to the murder of troubadour Stefano de Askeles—whose strolling troupe of jongleurs hates him with half a dozen motives for murder—and to the fortuitous unearthing of a saint's relics in answer to a greedy Oxford priest's prayers. Lots of subplots and masked figures obscure the rich central metaphor provided by the medieval mystery plays in Falconer's third outing (Falconer's Judgement, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
FALCONER'S JUDGEMENT by Ian Morson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 12, 1996

A second florid chronicle of the life and times of mid-13th century Regent Master William Falconer, Oxford scholar and teacher (Falconer's Crusade, 1995). While Pope Alexander is dying in Rome, his ambitious Papal Legate Bishop Otho is holding court in Oxford's Olseney Abbey, collecting monies due the Church and receiving local dignitaries like landowner Humphry Segrim. The battle for the Pope's successor is under way, with England's King Henry not above the fray; the shadowy figure of Knights Templar agent Guillaume de Beaupeu ever lurking; the Abbey's Prior John Darby and Bursar Peter Talam ever listening; and Dominican friars ever preaching hellfire and the Apocalypse. In the middle of all this, Bishop Otho's brother Sinibaldo, his master of cooks, is shot dead by an arrow seemingly meant for the Bishop; a group of Oxford students is jailed for the crime, and one of them, Welshman John Gryffin, is found dead in his cell—with the authorities naming it suicide, and Falconer proving to himself it was murder. Determined to find Sinibaldi's true killer, Falconer gets help from his sturdy friend Town Constable Peter Bullock and from Segrim's discontented wife Ann. The writings of his mentor Roger Bacon and his own considerable cunning also help achieve his goal. Suspense and clarity are largely forfeit in a plethora of minor characters, background decor, swirling cloaks, and skulking figures, mostly hooded. Lessons could be learned from the clearheaded language and plotting skills of the late Ellis Peters. This will be most enjoyed by devotees of ecclesiastical history. Read full book review >
FALCONER'S CRUSADE by Ian Morson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 21, 1995

The year 1264 marks a turbulent period for England, with Simon de Montfort challenging the sovereignty of King Henry III, the Crown at the point of expelling all Jews from England, and Roger Bacon's scientific experimentalism contending against faith and superstition. Bacon's pupil at Oxford, Regent Master William Falconer, finds his belief in Aristotelian logic (though not his conviction that the earth is round) sorely tested by a series of murders beginning with Margaret Gebetz, servant to his surly fellow master John Fyssh. The young woman's throat was cut practically within sight of Thomas Symon, who has arrived at Oxford to study with Falconer; but the only clue to her murder is a mysterious book she was carrying even though she was illiterate. The book makes its way from the hands of Gebetz's Jewish friend Hannah to Symon to rhetoric master Richard Bonham, who peremptorily confiscates it, to Fyssh, who's seen with it shortly before his own murder. First-novelist Morson drops teasing clues concerning the book's true nature, though it's only the most dedicated medieval historian who'll beat Falconer in tying the killer to the background political conflicts. Conscientiously shadowy—the Dark Ages at their darkest— with a whirlwind climax: a between-courses palate-cleanser for Ellis Peters fans. Read full book review >