There is a lot about this book I really enjoyed. The author describes it as Medieval Noir (so hard-boiled detective story set in 1384) and that alone caught my attention. The history is really well done. I liked the descriptions of London and the characters.
I loved the protag - Crispin Guest. He's a tortured hero, a disgraced knight. He's good with his fist, his knife, and his brains. The secondary characters were well done as well. I especially liked Crispin's servant Jack.
The story moved right along (dead merchant, missing religious icon), it kept my attention, there were several unexpected twists, and the ending was satisfying.
So why not more stars?
There were several things that did not work. For all that I loved Crispin, there were moments where I lost his character. He stopped being the tough guy at the beginning of the book. This was most evident during the later scenes with Phillipa. I found myself thinking that he kind of `felt' like the heroine in a romance novel.
A second problem was that I was much more interested in Crispin's personal problems with his ex-knighthood than I was with the murdered merchant. The plot of the mystery was a little forced. Answers to problems came a little too conveniently and I began to recognize a pattern for how things worked. (Crispin would go to see someone with a question. They'd refuse him. He'd leave downtrodden. Then something out of the blue would happen to get him the answer he needed.)
And while there were some good twists, I figured out the final twist within the first 50 pages -Hate it when that happens. Sometimes the dialogue lapsed into speech patterns too modern for medieval times, and I seriously disliked Crispin's love interest.
Still, I like the idea of this series and enough about it that I will probably read the next book.
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