Renovations of a school in 12th-century Exeter are disrupted by the shocking discovery of a partially mummified corpse hidden in the rafters, and the county coroner Sir John de Wolfe is called in to investigate. Richard de Revelle, Sir John's brother-in-law and founder of the school, immediately blames Nicholas de Arundell, a young outlawed knight. As Sir John discovers, Nicholas has good reason to bear a grudge against the unscrupulous de Revelle. With the victim's identity unknown and the motive a mystery, however, the murder remains unsolved. But then comes news of a second violent death, and Sir John is forced to track down the culprit in order to find the answers.
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Professor Bernard Knight, CBE, became a Home Office Pathologist in 1965 and was appointed Professor of Forensic Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, in 1980. During his 40-year career with the Home Office, he performed over 25,000 autopsies, and was involved in many high profile cases, including that of Fred and Rose West, and the child killer, Mary Bell. The author of numerous popular and academic non-fiction books, he has written thirteen novels in the Crowner John mystery series. Professor Knight lives in Cardiff.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. A serial killer targets respected guildsmen in Knight's gripping 11th Crowner John mystery (after The Elixir of Life), set in 12th-century Exeter. When Matthew Morcok, a former master saddler, is found mummified above a renovated school, the authorities call on Sir John de Wolfe and coroner's clerk Thomas de Peyne to stop what is fast becoming a campaign of terror. Later victims include a master glazier, who's strangled, and a candle maker impaled through the eye. John's work is complicated by the conflict between his shady brother-in-law, Richard de Revelle, and Nick o' the Moor, an outlaw who returned from the Crusades to find his estates expropriated by de Revelle and de Revelle's cronies. John makes an arduous wintertime journey into Dartmoor to meet Nick, who's actually a knight, Nicholas de Arundell. Nick's plight so moves John that he takes the outlaw's case to England's Chief Justiciar for resolution. The author offers a vivid picture of medieval life with fascinating insights into England's fledgling legal system. (Feb.)
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