Relics of King Arthur are worth killing for five times over eight centuries in the Medieval Murderers’ latest collaboration (The Sword of Shame, 2006, etc.).
Legend says that Arthur never died but only sleeps, to wake at the hour of his people’s greatest need. When the monks at Glastonbury in 1191 find the grave of a man of regal height, with an iron cross engraved Rex Arturius, the Welsh brother among them knows that the English king will seize this as proof that Arthur cannot rise again, thereby discouraging rebellious spirits who take hope from the legend. He summons his countrymen to spirit the bones away to Wales. In a solemn ceremony, the Welsh Guardians vow that they and their descendants will safeguard the true bones through the centuries. And they do, in the five stories that follow this prologue. In 1198, when a chaplain is murdered under Merlin’s oak, which sheltered Arthur’s bones, the constable’s clever wife solves the case. The second act is the weakest, with a pedantic tone and little investigation. The third is a classic English village murder, committed when a disreputable pardoner gets his hands on some of the relics. Act four gilds the Arthurian lily by dragging in Shakespeare but provides a smooth transition from medieval miracles to modern skepticism. The final mystery, set in 1818, is a noirish investigation by shady Egyptologist Joe Malinferno and Doll Pocket, a doxy with moxie.
A satisfying meal broken into distinct courses.