Spiteful Bones

Jeri Westerson. Severn, $28.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8999-7
In Westerson’s middling 14th medieval noir (after 2019’s Sword of Shadows), set in 1398 London, disgraced knight Crispin Guest, now an investigator known as the Tracker, is summoned to the home of his friend Nigellus Cobmartin after a man’s skeleton is found plastered into a wall. The man’s bound hands hold a gem-studded gold reliquary, which was stolen from the household 20 years earlier. The remains are believed to be those of Wilfrid Roke, a servant whose disappearance coincided with the theft. Guest concludes that the killer is alive and in the Cobmartin home after he finds that crucial household records from 1378 have just been burnt. Anachronistic language (“Welcome to my world”) and clunky phrasing (“Something about it stirred the cauldron of his thoughts, but try as he might, it would not rise to the surface”) don’t help an unmemorable plot. Neither the solution nor the recreation of the period stands out. Readers will hope for a return to form. Agent: Joshua Bilmes/JABberwocky Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/12/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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