A gripping murder mystery set in fourteenth-century Chesterfield and sequel to The Crooked SpireJohn the Carpenter, married and soon to become a father, has plenty of work to keep him busy in Chesterfield. But when the town coroner demands his help to solve the death of an elderly man who had survived both the plague and famine, John becomes embroiled in a case with many twists and turns. When the suspected murderer is in turn found dead, and a valuable book of Psalms vanishes, John has to discover who the real killer might be. But very soon he discovers nothing is as it seems.
Sympathetic characters, a puzzling mystery, and plausible historical detail distinguish British author Nickson's second novel featuring John the Carpenter (after 2014's The Crooked Spire), set in Chesterfield, England, in 1361. John is looking forward to the birth of his first child and to a tranquil life centered on his family. But his past success in solving crimes leads the king's coroner, de Harville, to seek his help when a wealthy local man, Master Timothy, is killed by a blow to the head. The obvious suspect is Timothy's servant, Nicholas, who has disappeared. When John discovers Nicholas's body buried in Timothy's garden, it appears that the servant fell victim to the same killer. John also learns that a valuable psalter that Timothy owned has gone missing. As the bodies pile up, John's investigation places his life in peril and causes friction with his wife, who fears for his safety. This solid, if unspectacular, whodunit will appeal to fans of Deryn Lake.