In 1298, Edward I of England invaded Scotland and brutally sacked the town of Berwick, razing to the ground the Red House of the Flemings who had permission to trade there. He little knew his action would have far-reaching repercussions. A year later, Edward convokes a great assembly of the realm in St Paul's Cathedral. They are to hear Mass ...
In 1298, Edward I of England invaded Scotland and brutally sacked the town of Berwick, razing to the ground the Red House of the Flemings who had permission to trade there. He little knew his action would have far-reaching repercussions. A year later, Edward convokes a great assembly of the realm in St Paul's Cathedral. They are to hear Mass after which the main celebrant, Walter de Montfort, has been delegated to lecture the King on not taxing the Church. During the Mass, de Montfort dies a sudden and violent death. Hugh Corbett, the King's clerk, is given the task of solving the mystery and tracking down the murderer. Against the background of Edward's struggle to maintain himself, both at home and aborad, Corbett's investigations become tortuous and laced with danger...
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Publishers Weekly, 1990-02-16 Medieval London comes vividly to life in this fourth investigation by Hugh Corbett, chief clerk to England's Edward I. In January 1299, at High Mass with the king and other nobles, Walter de Montfort, the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, falls dead, poisoned. Edward, whose recent ill-received attempts to tax the church to raise funds for his wars against France and rebel Scots make him a suspect, orders Corbett to investigate. With the aid, and often hindrance, of his dissolute servant Ranulf, Corbett discovers that the victim owned a house of prostitution and served as the fence for a gang of outlaws. The clerk comes to suspect, however, that despite the Dean's criminal activities, he was not the intended victim. Finding the key to the mystery in the ritual of the mass, Corbett gets his answer after another murder, although he himself almost perishes. Like previous Corbett mysteries, this one is based on a true incident, with Doherty's depictions of medieval character and manners of thought, from the highest to the lowest in the land, ringing true. ( Apr. )
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