The Sanctity of Hate: A Medieval Mystery

Priscilla Royal, Author
Priscilla Royal. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (234p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0020-5
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 12/01/2012
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The plight of English Jewry under Edward I propels Royal’s ninth medieval mystery (after 2011’s Killing Season), the best yet in a consistently strong series. As the author explains in an afterword, the king promulgated a series of anti-Semitic proclamations once the Jewish community no longer served Edward’s “financial requirements.” As of October 1275, in a move anticipating the Nazis, Jews were required to wear yellow badges. Against this backdrop, the death of Kenelm, a man hired to help protect some traveling Jews, one of whom, Jacob ben Asser, had argued with him, leads to suspicions that the Jews are responsible. But the local coroner, Crowner Ralf, believes the solution to Kenelm’s murder is less straightforward, since the order of, and reason for, the victim’s fatal injuries aren’t clear-cut. Period details fit unobtrusively with the action, and the pacing makes this a one- or two-sitting read at most. (Dec.)
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