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The Manor of Death by Bernard Knight
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The Manor of Death (2008)

by Bernard Knight

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A general review of this series:

This is back in the good old days of law enforcement, when trial by combat was definitive and would-be plea bargainers had to fight their accomplice(s) to the death.

I find these books fascinating as living history, perhaps even more than as mysteries. Knight always starts off with a glossary of terms. The period is not romanticized, but neither is it overly repulsive.

Sir John de Wolfe went crusading with Richard the Lionheart. Now back in England, he has been appointed to the newly reconstituted office of Crowner (Coroner). He fights a pitched battle with his corrupt, treacherous brother-in-law, the Sheriff, over official territory. He is very unhappily married to Matilda, his incompatible wife; their relationship makes sleeping in peasant huts while on duty a treat. One of the things that makes it interesting, is that although Sir John is the central character, and presumably to be regarded with sympathy, his marital problems are not entirely blamed upon his wife. The characters are generally somewhat complex.

John is assisted in his duties by his gigantic man of arms, Gywn of Polruan, and his clerk, Thomas de Payne, a frail priest.

In this volume, the investigation of the murder of a young man leads to suspicions that the port of Axemouth is involved with smuggling and piracy. Sir John also faces a number of changes in his personal and professional life. ( )
  juglicerr | May 30, 2009 |
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A brisk south-westerly wind sent the two ships scudding up the Channel, almost midway between the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy and the coast of Devon.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743294998, Hardcover)

When an unidentified body is discovered in the harbor town of Axmouth, the county coroner Sir John de Wolfe is summoned to investigate. The manner of the young man's death is a matter of some dispute, but it was clearly no accident. In the ensuing murder investigation, Sir John is frustrated by what appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the seamen and townsfolk. There are many inhabitants of Axmouth who seem willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the shocking truth behind the death remains hidden. Sir John will need courage, cunning, and determination if he is to solve the case and escape from the town with his life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:22 -0400)

When an unidentified body is discovered in the harbour town of Axmouth, 20 miles from Exeter, Sir John de Wolfe, the county coroner, is summoned to investigate. The manner of the young man's death is a matter of some dispute - but, as Sir John soon discovers, it was no accident.… (more)

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