The Manor of Death

The Manor of Death

4.5 4
by Bernard Knight
     
 

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When an unidentified body is discovered in the harbor town of Axmouth, the county coroner Sir John de Wolfe is summoned to investigate. The manner of the young man's death is a matter of some dispute, but it was clearly no accident. In the ensuing murder investigation, Sir John is frustrated by what appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the seamen and

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Overview

When an unidentified body is discovered in the harbor town of Axmouth, the county coroner Sir John de Wolfe is summoned to investigate. The manner of the young man's death is a matter of some dispute, but it was clearly no accident. In the ensuing murder investigation, Sir John is frustrated by what appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the seamen and townsfolk. There are many inhabitants of Axmouth who seem willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the shocking truth behind the death remains hidden. Sir John will need courage, cunning, and determination if he is to solve the case and escape from the town with his life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The thoroughness of the historical detail, however, will doubtless appeal to fans of medieval intrigue and derring-do."  —Kirkus Reviews

"Packed with the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England, the Crowner John series is a national treasure."  —Birmingham Post

"Detection and suspense are combined with historical authenticity."  —Daily Mail

Publishers Weekly
The lack of a true puzzle mars Knight's otherwise solid 12th historical to feature Devon coroner Sir John de Wolfe (after 2008's The Noble Outlaw). In April 1196, an attack by one ship on another in the English Channel culminates in the massacre of the attacked ship's crew. Shortly afterward, de Wolfe looks into the discovery of a strangled corpse in the coastal town of Axmouth. The body turns out to be that of Simon Makerel, a sailor who returned from his last voyage suspiciously affluent and ridden with guilt. The link between the murder and the act of piracy will be obvious to every reader, as it is to de Wolfe, who rapidly takes the measure of the port town and finds evidence that unscrupulous traders are routinely evading customs taxes needed for the king's treasury. Knight offers no plausible alternative motive for Makerel's murder, though as usual he nicely evokes the atmosphere of the period. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Sir John de Wolfe uncovers a nest of pirates and smugglers in his 12th medieval adventure (The Noble Outlaw, 2008, etc.). When the body of a sailor is found buried inland, the king's coroner must be summoned. So Sir John de Wolfe rides for the port town of Axmouth along with his oafish squire Gwyn and his weakling clerk Thomas. The dead man is a young lad with a mere two voyages to his name and humble hopes of entering the Church. No one seems to have a motive, and the town's bailiff and portreeve are suspiciously hostile to Crowner John's inquiries. In the absence of both leads and cooperation, the coroner returns to Exeter and his usual duties, pronouncing on the accidental drowning of a dead miller, disposing of the body of a whale that's been discovered. Irritated by his wife and beginning to tire of his mistress, Sir John finds increasingly flimsy excuses to visit lovely Hilda of Dawlish, widowed during a previous adventure. However, two more deaths bring him back to Axmouth and draw the attention of the king, who cannot let piracy stand. To advance his career at court and earn the satisfaction of imposing justice, Sir John devises a clever, risky plan to trap the pirates in their own net. A sometimes pedantic tale complete with maps, glossary and largely unsympathetic characters. The thoroughness of the historical detail, however, will doubtless appeal to fans of medieval intrigue and derring-do.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416525943
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date:
06/01/2009
Series:
Crowner John Mysteries
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Knight is the author of the Crown John Mysteries series and is a member of The Medieval Murderers.

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