cover image The Song of the Nightingale: 
A Hawkenlye Mystery

The Song of the Nightingale: A Hawkenlye Mystery

Alys Clare. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8194-6

In the grim prologue of Clare’s solid 14th Hawkenlye mystery set in 13th-century England (after 2011’s The Rose of the World), three homeless thugs attack a family of three in their isolated house: a father and mother and their grown daughter. The father dies, the mother goes mad, and the daughter, who’s raped, calls out for vengeance. Sure enough, three male corpses are later unearthed in the woods near Hawkenlye Abbey. When Sir Josse d’Acquin, lord of the local manor, investigates, he learns that the likely date of their deaths coincides with the end of a series of robberies and assaults in the area. But getting a handle on the dead men’s identities is only the first step in ascertaining how they met their end. While the mystery component isn’t particularly memorable, Clare has never been better at showing how the common folk struggled to survive under the oppressive reign of King John. (Nov.)