An exorcist and his assistant fight demons from hell to solve a series of murders.
Geoffrey Chaucer and his fellow pilgrims listen to a physician’s disturbing tale in a tavern on their route from London to Canterbury. Brother Anselm and his novice, Stephen, have been asked to perform an exorcism at the church of St. Michael’s, Candlewick. The demons that inhabit the church seem to have been called up by a sorcerer known as the Midnight Man, but there is more to the story. Some valuable property stolen from the king years ago may be hidden in the church. The current king has sent men to protect Anselm and hunt for the treasure. Anselm knows he must solve a recent series of murders of young women if he is to have any chance of banishing the demons. Stephen, the son of a physician who has thrown him out because of his disturbing visions, has fallen in love with the daughter of a tavern owner. Despite his doubts about a future in religion, he continues to experience horrible and revealing visions as he supports Anselm. Anselm, Stephen and the king’s men must uncover the sins of past and present to have any hope of success.
The latest addition to Doherty’s Canterbury Tales series (A Haunt of Murder, 2003, etc.) is so tightly packed with the minutiae of everyday medieval life that mystery readers who aren’t history buffs may give up long before the excellent finale.