Hill of Bones: A Historical Mystery by the Medieval Murderers

Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Karen Maitland, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden. Simon & Schuster U.K. (IPG, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-85720-426-4
Gregory and Maitland’s contributions lift the winning seventh collaborative effort by five of today’s top historical mystery novelists (after 2011’s The Sacred Stone). In Gregory’s chilling variation on The Hound of the Baskervilles, set in 1199, the master of Bath’s St. John’s Hospital is found dead on Solsbury Hill with marks on his corpse suggesting that a vicious beast was responsible. According to legend, “only the pure of heart could survive a night [on Solsbury Hill] when the moon was full.” Gregory makes the most of her setup, concocting a typically intricate, but satisfying, solution. Clever plot twists and gripping pacing distinguish Maitland’s entry, a tale of revenge set in 1453 involving a shipwreck’s survivor turned miracle worker who lives in fear of a shadowy nemesis. The selections by Knight, Morson, and Gooden, each involving Solsbury Hill, also entertain. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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