From Publishers Weekly
A grisly discovery sets the stage for Morson's solid sixth whodunit to feature William Falconer (after 1999's Falconer and the Great Beast
). In 1271, workmen tearing down a house to make way for Oxford University's first residential college uncover skeletal remains in a wall. The body's age forces Falconer to probe events two decades earlier when the house was first built. England in 1250 was beset by rumors that the End of Days was coming, and that the Jewish community was responsible for a child's horrific ritual murder. The cold case becomes much warmer after one of the men who found the remains turns up dead himself. The academic sleuth comes to suspect that the truth behind the killings may revolve around closely guarded secrets about the Knights Templar. Morson, who does a nice job conveying the bigotry of 13th-century England, convincingly renders the period through well-chosen detail. (Feb.)
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Morson is back with another suspenseful adventure in his popular thirteenth-century mystery series featuring William Falconer. An old building is being demolished to make way for Oxford University’s new “collegium” when a skeleton is discovered between the foundation walls. Master Falconer, known for his keen-eyed investigative skills, is called upon to identify the skeleton. Falconer can pin down the likely time frame for the death (the building was built 20 years ago), but when he discovers that the back of the skeleton’s skull is bashed in, he realizes he’s investigating a murder. Working without a contemporary crime lab, he still does an impressive job using his own version of forensic science to ferret out the facts of the case. As usual, Morson offers well-researched period detail, a revealing look at life in thirteenth-century England, a riveting plot, and an intriguing cast of characters. Recommend this series to historical-mystery buffs. --Emily Melton