cover image In the Company of Fools

In the Company of Fools

Tania Bayard. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8941-6

It’s 1386 in Bayard’s immersive third French Medieval mystery (after 2019’s In the Shadow of the Enemy), and the bouts of madness of Charles VI are of growing concern. Some members of the king’s court suggest that they’re the result of sorcery on the part of Valentina Visconti, Duchess of Orléans and wife of the king’s brother. Meanwhile, in an atmosphere rife with accusations of witchcraft and evil omens, the king’s fools find a baby girl wrapped in dirty rags, her face blackened by grease, in the king’s garden. In this condition, the child would be considered “a ‘gift’ from the Devil” and destroyed. To spare the baby this fate, the fools ask court scribe Christine de Pizan for help. She takes the infant home and vows to find her mother. When a woman is found dead in the garden the next day, Christine suspects a connection. As she delves deeper, she uncovers a sordid tale of revenge and murder. Christine’s sound observations stand in nice contrast to the prevailing belief in magic. Fans of well-researched historical mysteries will be rewarded. Agent: Josh Getzler, HSG Agency. (May)