“A disgraced knight earns a meager living as a private inquiry agent in 1383 London” in a series debut that “will appeal to mystery and history fans alike” (Kirkus Reviews).
Accused of treason and stripped of his knighthood, Crispin Guest has survived on gritty streets of London by reinventing himself as The Tracker, an investigator for hire who can locate lost objects and uncover secrets. When the merchant Nicholas Walcote hires Guest to investigate his young wife Philippa for adultery, he discovers an underground world of danger and dirty dealings. Philippa is indeed hiding something—but she’s not the only one. Walcote himself is rumored to possess a holy relic so powerful that some would even kill for it.
To get to the truth about the mysterious Walcotes, Guest must contend with his nemesis, Sheriff Simon Wynchcombe, as be becomes entangled in a strange world of superstition, seduction, and murder. With vivid period detail and a complex, thrilling story, Veil of Lies was a finalist for the Macavity and Shamus awards.
Crispin Guest, a former knight who was stripped of his rank after being implicated in a plot against Richard II, now makes his living as a "tracker," the medieval equivalent of a PI, in Westerson's promising debut, set in 1384 London. Nicholas Walcote, a wealthy cloth merchant, hires Guest to investigate his younger and attractive wife, Philippa, whom he suspects of infidelity. Guest's cursory probe is derailed after his client is found stabbed to death in a locked room. Philippa retains Guest's services to find her husband's killer, who may have been motivated by Walcote's possessing a legendary relic reputed to force those in its proximity to tell the truth. While featuring a hard-boiled medieval sleuth instead of a monk or a nun may not be quite as groundbreaking as the author suggests in her afterword (e.g., Susanna Gregory's 14th-century Cambridge physician Matthew Bartholomew), this is nonetheless an entertaining read that makes the prospect of sequels welcome.