Haunt of Murder
Minotaur (St. Martin’s), Feb 2009, $24.95
The travelers on their way to Canterbury stop at Maldon, Essex where rumors abound that ghosts and killers live. A debate breaks out whether there are spirits haunting the woods as some reject the concept of ghosts.
The Clerk of Oxford makes an anecdotal case in support of the paranormal. He tells the tale of his peer Ralph Mortimer the clerk of Ravenscroft who in 1381 was researching documents at Ravenscroft Castle in hopes of finding a clue that will lead him to Brythnoth's legendary treasured jeweled cross. So far he has been unsuccessful. Meanwhile he, his fiancée Beatrice Arrowner and some friends were on the greens by the castle celebrating May Day. However, Beatrice apparently fell from a parapet to her death. Shattered, the despondent Ralph believes she was murdered though his friends insist a tragic accident occurred. He vows to find Beatrice’s killer, but he will soon learn there is more to life than death as his beloved is fighting evil demanding her soul while she waits for her beloved to uncover her killer.
Perhaps the lead author of the medieval mystery (besides the Canterbury Tales, there are also the tales starring the Royal Clerk Hugh Corbett and Brother Athelstan), P.C. Doherty provides another terrific entry in his homage to Chaucer. The story line provides a deep window into the late fourteenth century through the eyes of the travelers while the investigation looks into whether Beatrice died from an accident or a homicide is cleverly devised. Fans will enjoy the latest entry in this fine medieval mystery series with an apparent touch of the paranormal (see The Carpenter’s Tale: THE HANGMAN'S HYMN).