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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Crediton Killings and The Leper's Return by Michael Jecks

The Crediton Killings features a former Knight Templar, Sir Baldwin Furnshill.  Earlier books may have explained how he escaped arrest and death when King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V united in their efforts to destroy the Order in the early 1300's.

At any rate, Sir Baldwin managed to survive and return to his father's estate in Devon.  (oh, a little searching, and the first book in the series The Last Templar will probably explain Baldwin's survival and subsequent return to Devon).

At the time The Credition Killings opens, Sir Baldwin is Keeper of the King's Peace.  Requested to investigate a theft of silver plate from the captain of a group of mercenaries and the murder of a young woman, Sir Baldwin and his friend Simon Puttock, the Bailiff find the situation a bit more complicated than it originally appears.  

Things do not improve with the murders of two more women.  

Not a bad mystery, but since I followed it up with The Leper's Return by Jecks, I can see the improvement in the series. 

The Leper's Return is set in 1320, and Jecks' has created more depth for his characters and a much tighter plot (and subplots).  

There are more interesting characters included and all of them are well-drawn.  As the number of characters expanded so did the subplots:  the murder of a goldsmith, a merchant cuckolded by his wife, a leper colony, a potential marriage, an interfering and obnoxious maid, a huge mastiff, an eccentric Irishman--all woven into the doings of the small village of Crediton.

I liked this one so much better than The Crediton Killings.  Of course there is a sense of familiarity with the characters, but the additional characters are all interesting, and all of the characters (including Sir Baldwin) just have a greater presence.


  1. These sound interesting. I haven't read too many books set in this time period, but I am always meaning to.

  2. I like this period, and I've had fun choosing authors to try. :)