An itinerant preacher and a doxy enter an abandoned house, looking for a trysting place. They find a man standing over a corpse and he's not happy to be interrupted.
A serving maid stabs a drunken lecher; in her defence she raises greater crimes by the respected widow who runs the Paradise Tree, a prosperous tavern bordering the Thames. The evidence is stacked against the widow, she makes little effort to aid Athelstan or coroner Sir John Cranston as they investigate the accusation against her.
Hanging over the events is a legend of gold, a lost treasure, and the beady eye of Regent John Of Gaunt is looking closely. Could the widow have found the hoard, be protecting its location? Was that why she killed a young man and his fiancée? Our two heroes, aided by the widow's lawyer, attempt to unravel the mysteries in a race against time as her trial draws near.
Part whodunit, part legal thriller, all ripened by the heady atmosphere of the bustling metropolis of London, Doherty has maintained a high standard with Field Of Blood. Murder, politics, betrayal, a view of a law court in operation (not so different from today!) - all inform a pacy thriller. Recommended.