Friday 29 June 2012

Paul Doherty: Murder Most Holy Review

Another very good tale of murder and mystery in early 15th Century London. Dominicans are disappearing or being found dead in Blackfriars; Brother Athelstan and Coroner Sir John Cranston are called in. Under the sceptical and beady eye of two Inquisitors they have to prove murder, find corpses and solve the crimes.

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.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

I'm running the village now

Right, listen up you people. It's two months since SamCam and I moved into this village and frankly, it's a shambles. I went to a Parish Council meeting the other day and there were people wearing cardigans, for God's sake. Some of them women. Well, that's all got to stop.

I have decided to take over the running of the village. I will control the finances of the whole area and education will be in the hands of little Mike Gove - I'm sure some of you remember the shop he used to have selling pictures of himself and the Queen. Well, I know him from school and he's a sound chap, good exam results though a bit of a tick on the games field. I've asked George to step down from his role as landlord of the village pub (more of this anon) and he'll keep hold of the tin in which the PC stores the rates money. I'll keep hold of foreign affairs myself - I have some experience here with our Filipino nanny (I think she's Filipino - there's a touch of the tar brush anyway).

Sunday 24 June 2012

Paul Doherty: The Field Of Blood Review

There's a fine variety of murders in this Doherty novel, a historical whodunit that fairly gallops along. Three corpses in Brother Athelstan's parish, more buried in "the field of blood" and an unlikely murderess on the road to the gallows.

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.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Paul Doherty: The Nightingale Gallery Review

First of the Athelstan books, where a Dominican friar and a hard-drinking city coroner investigate murder and corruption in 14th Century London.

It's 1397, John Of Gaunt has just become Regent on the death of Edward The Confessor, the future King Henry VII being too young to be made king. The Machiavellian Gaunt has close ties with rich merchants, one of whom is found dead in his bedchamber. All the evidence points to his manservant who has conveniently committed suicide, supposedly in remorse for the murder.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Paul Doherty

The last author I blogged on gave us two for the price of one - mother and daughter writing as PJ Tracy, today's author gives us even more, for Paul Doherty is prolific under that name and several others.

Doherty is a historian, writer of historical fiction and school headmaster. The first contributes to the second as he has produced a large body of enjoyable and historically accurate novels under his various noms de plume. The third hasn't as yet led to any books - I'm sure though that there'll be something one day.

Monday 4 June 2012

Harmonising The Dead

Today is the anniversary of the massacre of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Chinese people by its own government's troops. To this day, nobody except the authorities knows how many were killed, wounded or arrested on that awful day.

For nearly seven weeks up to half a million people had gathered in Tiananmen Square to protest harsh economic measures, loss of freedoms and corruption in the ruling classes. The government initially tried to appease demonstrators but then, as with the Russians in earlier years, arrogance and brutality won and the tanks rolled in. Troops had orders to clear the Square - they did so with live bullets.

Sunday 3 June 2012

PJ Tracy: Dead Run Reviewed

A swimming hole for local teens: one boy diving to retrieve a six pack finds a body. Police divers pull up more, apparently executed simultaneously by a blast from an automatic weapon. FBI agents swoop on the bodies and impose strict secrecy on the local law, just about doable in rural America.

A quiet little town on a summer's day. Bodies start dropping, people, a dog.