A medieval sleuth, working in 1303, delves even deeper into the past to solve several brutal murders.
Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the Secret Seal of Edward I of England, has been sent on a treasure hunt. He arrives in Canterbury on a bitterly cold December day to see justice done in the case of Lady Adelicia Decontet, who is held on the charge of murdering her husband, Sir Rauf Decontet. The case, which seems serious enough, is actually secondary to the task of deciphering the fabled Cloister Map, which purports to show the location of an immense buried treasure. Three years before, the pirate cog The Waxman was ambushed by the ships of Sir Rafe and Sir Walter Castledene, Canterbury merchants determined to seize the Cloister Map. Captain Adam Blackstock and his crew were killed before he and his brother Hubert could use the map to find the treasure. On his arrival, Sir Hugh finds that the merchant who was delivering the map and his family have been found hanged inside a well-guarded house. Someone is evidently killing off all the people involved in The Waxman affair, probably the mysterious Hubert Blackstock. But the map, which supplies the motive for one death after another, appears to be nonsense. Sir Hugh’s life is in danger until he discovers the secret identity Hubert has assumed.
Another clever, well-researched period piece (The Magician’s Death, 2009, etc.) that immerses willing readers in the sometimes unpleasant details of medieval life.