A murderous spin on The Canterbury Tales.
Disgraced knight Crispin Guest has gained such a reputation as a tracker of criminals (The Demon’s Parchment, 2010, etc.) that the Archbishop of Canterbury calls on him to investigate a threat against the bones of Saint Thomas Becket. The archbishop suspects a plot by the Lollards, whose attack on papal authority and church doctrines has the veiled approval of some of the highest in the land, including Guest’s former lord, the Duke of Lancaster. Guest and his servant Jack are staying at an inn that also houses Geoffrey Chaucer, a friend of Guest from the days when Guest was still a favorite of Lancaster, and many of the characters who are due to be immortalized in his Canterbury Tales. When the prioress is murdered and Becket’s bones go missing, Guest has his work cut out for him. A second murder only confuses his task. The archbishop wants the murders solved, the bones returned, and the Lollards rooted out. When Chaucer’s dagger is used as a murder weapon, Guest has to look deep into the past and the death of Becket in order to save his old friend from the hangman’s rope.
Westerson’s latest medieval noir is a very readable combination of historical fact and mystery even though it telegraphs the killer’s identity early on.