Monday, May 18, 2009

The Magician's Death-Paul Doherty

The Magician's Death
Paul Doherty
Minotaur, Jul 7 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312565626

In 1303 French scholars arrives at Corfe Castle in Dorset to decipher the coded writings of Roger Bacon; his tome allegedly contains designs for weapons that would make France or whoever possesses the book the continent’s superpower. The Keeper of the Secret Seal of King Edward I, Hugh Corbett has agents who successfully steal a copy of Bacon’s book.

They struggle to bring their treasure to Corbett, but someone stalks them trying to kill all the thieves. At the same time, a crossbow killer has murdered women at the castle. Finally several of the scholars have met with lethal suspicions accidents. Corbett begins to see the interconnecting pattern, but ending the murder spree seems impossible as he is targeted for death too.

The latest Hugh Corbett Medieval Mystery (see CORPSE CANDLE and THE TREASON OF THE GHOSTS) is an excellent early fourteenth century whodunit as Corbett’s investigations provide an engaging tale while also spotlighting life in the era. The cases are difficult to solve until the hero begins to see the merging of what he originally thought was separate serial killers at work; he remains resolute to solving both though he knows he is on the death list. As always Paul Doherty provides another winner in a strong saga.

Harriet Klausner