Godfrey Bowyer, the best but least likeable bow maker in Worcester, dies of poisoning, though his wife Blanche survives. The number of people who could have administered the poison should mean a very short investigation for Bradecote and Catchpoll, but perhaps some was pulling the strings, and that widens the net considerably. Could it be the cast-out younger brother or perhaps Orderic the Bailiff, whose wife has been pressured into a relationship with Godfrey? Could it even be the wife herself? With Bradecote eager to return to his manor and worried about his wife’s impending confinement, and Walkelin trying to get his mother to accept his choice of bride, there are distractions aplenty, though Serjeant Catchpoll will not let them get in the way of solving this case.
My thoughts: Bradecote & Catchpoll are back investigating another medieval murder in Worcester. But in some ways this is Walkelin’s book, he does a lot of the investigating and putting it all together and we get to learn a bit more about his home life – with his overprotective mother and the young woman he hopes to marry.
The murders are pretty grim and the motive as old as time. Catchpoll puts his long earned knowledge of people to use and Bradecote is distracted by Christina being about to give birth. They get there in the end as always, putting the little bits of information together as confidently as any modern detective, only with no technology to help them or speedy police cars to get them to the scene – just foot leather and horses. It’s very enjoyable and I liked the way Walkelin gathers his information with politeness and a genial air, unlike grumpy Catchpoll who mostly seems to intimidate it out of people with a look.
Thank you to Allison & Busby for my review copy via Netgalley. The book is out this week so get ordering, available at all the usual places.