cover image Traitor’s Codex: A Crispin Guest Medieval Noir

Traitor’s Codex: A Crispin Guest Medieval Noir

Jeri Westerson. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8875-4

Set in 1394 London, Westerson’s lively 12th mystery featuring Crispin Guest (after 2018’s The Deepest Grave) opens at the Boar’s Tusk, Guest’s favorite tavern, where the former knight and tracer of lost objects and persons has taken refuge at the beginning of the annual plague season. There he’s approached by a mysterious man who thrusts a small rectangular package into his hands, then leaves before Guest can follow him. The package contains a thick leather-bound book, written in an unidentifiable language. The people he approaches in his quest to determine the book’s contents and significance are soon murdered. Finally, he asks Master Pardeu, a rabbi who must keep his faith a secret from the authorities, to translate the text. Pardeu identifies it as the apocryphal gospel of Judas, written in Coptic. Guest comes to realize that its heretical notions could undermine the very foundations of the Christian religion. Powerful forces will do everything they can to stop that from happening. Brisk prose and well-drawn characters propel this nimble excursion into religious thriller territory. (June)