In the meantime, Athelstan has his own skeleton to worry about, found under the church during renovation work. Sir John adds to the list of troubles: Regent John Of Gaunt has trapped him into taking a wager of 1,000 crowns, money he does not have. Solve a locked room puzzle or rely on the Regent to cover the debt - and thus become one of his creatures.
Doherty, writing as Paul Harding, paints his usual colourful picture of the teeming city, with its ordure and bawds, vagabonds and merchants and a tavern on most corners to staisfy the bibulous Sir John. He switches effortlessly to the quiet cloisters of Blackfriars and to the richer but less weighty court of Gaunt. There's also a few nice touches in the words and actions of the young king (Richard II to be) as the boy grows cold and frustrated by his uncle's hanging on to power.
Does the detecting match the descriptive? Yes: as a whodunit this is a fine tale - the clues are there, the reasoning solid, the pace is well done. Rich and enjoyable, this series does not flag.