Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Mansions of Murder by Paul Doherty

I requested this from NetGalley because I really like the Shardlake series and the blurb for this historical mystery reminded me of it.

The Mansions of Murder follows Brother Athelstan as he investigates a most perplexing mystery. First, there's a locked room (locked Church) murder of two strong men. And then two preserved bodies are found in the house of a recently deceased, upstanding member of his parish. The mysteries seem unconnected at first, but as Brother Athelstan and coroner, Sir John Cranston investigate, the signs point towards a gang leader nicknamed 'the Flesher', who also happens to be someone Cranston hates due to their history.

What I liked about this book was its descriptive language. I could picture the grimness of medieval England through the prose and it is definitely not a place that I would like to visit.

However, the language can sometimes work against the story. It was so descriptive that it took me a very long time to be able to form an impression of Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston characters. I even got lost in the text a few times. Plus, there was a very long conversation (almost a monologue) to reveal the backstory which I thought was a bit heavy-handed.

I admit that while I understood the ending, I still don't understand how they got to the ending. Perhaps it's because I got overwhelmed by the language, and while I have a very good sense of how England was in the 14th century, I don't have a good sense of how the story flowed. This is probably suited for fans of historical fiction who value setting. And I suppose I should have started from the first book, rather than the jumping in midway.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.


  1. I haven't read too many medieval mysteries as I tend to history a little later in time. This sounds like it has an interesting premise. It is too bad the language weighed it down some.

    1. The premise was what drew me in. I suppose that not being used to the series was another reason why the language was a barrier too.


I really do appreciate all comments, and I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours!