All the depravity and evil of man is found upon the stage.
January, 1381. Guests of the Regent, John of Gaunt, Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston have been attending a mystery play performed by the Straw Men, Gaunt's personal acting troupe.
The evening’s entertainment, however, is suddenly and brutally interrupted by the violent deaths of two of Gaunt's guests, their severed heads left on stage.
The Regent orders Athelstan to find out who committed such a heinous act, leading him to tackle his most baffling and disturbing case yet…
A taut and clever medieval murder mystery that won’t let go, perfect for fans of S G MacLean, S W Perry and Rory Clements.
Doherty's gift for blending historical intrigue and brilliantly constructed, impossible crimes has never been better displayed than in his 12th whodunit featuring Brother Athelstan (after 2012's Bloodstone). In 1381, England is controlled by its regent, John of Gaunt, uncle to the young Richard II. Gaunt's authority is under assault from the shadowy Upright Men, who lead an organization known as the Great Community of the Realm. Amid this turmoil, the man of God and perceptive criminal investigator looks into a number of London murders, including a man somehow shot in the face by a crossbow in a locked room and the savage slaughter of an entire family. The reek of the filthy streets is almost palpable, and the vivid descriptions enhance a classic fair-play plot that will appeal to John Dickson Carr fans. With dozens of books to his credit, Doherty continues to impress.