Falconer's Crusade

Ian Morson, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (190p) ISBN 978-0-312-11784-9
This sparkling medieval mystery debut introduces an appealing sleuth, Regent Master William Falconer of Aristotle College, Oxford University, who calls himself a ``deductionist.'' When not tutoring young clods, Falconer, who keeps a live owl in his rooms, experiments wth flying devices. The year is 1264, but Falconer, a disciple of Friar Bacon, is ahead of his time, notably with his heretical belief, drawn from his observations, that the earth's surface must be curved. The stabbing murder of Margaret Gebetz, Master John Fyssh's French servant girl, is followed by the murders of three students. What connection, if any, do the slayings have to the visit to Oxford of Prince Edward, weak King Henry III's son, who is being wooed by rebellious barons? What is the nature of the small book that illiterate Margaret possessed and which she believed would protect her? Thirteenth-century Oxford, with its political entanglements, its town vs. gown clashes and suspicion of Jews, comes vividly to life in Englishman Morson's tight, absorbing tale, first in a projected series. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1995
Release date: 02/01/1995
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