Kate Sedley

The Saint John's Fern

Summary: 
This is yet another entertaining medieval tale from Kate Sedley. It's 1477 and Roger the Chapman, still on his 'honeymoon' with his new bride in Bristol, England, finds his restlessness returning. Driven by some instinct that his skills as a sleuth are needed, he sets off through Dartmoor to Plymouth on the southwest coast of England. Roger's instinct is soon proven well founded when he hears of a brutal murder, the victim a Master Capstick, a well respected and wealthy businessman. The chief suspect is Capstick's great-nephew, Beric. He is seen leaving the scene by many witnesses, but when the constables arrive at his manor, Beric had somehow managed to vanish completely. The locals believe the witchcraft of their ancestors, and blame the Saint John's fern, which if eaten can make a man invisible. Roger, not convinced,begins his own inquiries, and when an attempt is made on his life, he knows he must be close to a truth. A most enjoyable read that provides the reader with an excellent sense of life in those harsh times of medieval England. As a murder mystery, the plot was an interesting one, but I have to admit that I solved it a couple of chapters before the end.

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The Weaver's Inheritance

Summary: 
Set in 1476, in the turbulent times that were the 'War of the Roses', Roger the Chapman (peddlar) is looking forward to spending Christmas in Bristol. As well as a peddlar, he is somewhat of a sleuth. Margaret, his matchmaking mother-in-law, has barely introduced him to her cousin Adela when Roger's attentions are demanded elsewhere. He gets involved in the return of long-lost son of a wealthy Bristol weaver, presumed murdered on a visit to London six years before who has miraculously reappeared, to the delight of the old man and to the indignation of his daughter,Alison Burnett. She refuses to believe that the bedraggled stranger is her brother Clement. She hires Roger to prove that the long lost 'brother' is indeed an imposter. The author 'weaves' an interesting plot involving 2 murders that ends with unexpected finale. Another interesting and enjoyable aspect of this tale is the royal intrigues that are going on in the background between the brothers York, King Edward, Richard and George, Duke of Clarence. A thoroughly entertaining read.

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