She Died Unshriven (Constable Thomas Lincraft #1), by David Field

Eight stars

A fan of David Field and his writing, I was pleased to stumble upon this novella set in Elizabethan times. When the body of a young woman is discovered, the coroner feels it important to call an inquest. Believed to be Amy Brinkley, a domestic servant with a penchant for promiscuity, the initial blame seems to be with her master. During the inquest, evidence begins piling up, though Constable Thomas Lincraft is not so sure. The testimony by witnesses seems weak or quite outlandish, including an apparent clue to the victim’s identity by an apparition. Risking his position, Lincraft vows to get to the bottom of the murder to see if Amy Brinkley is even the victim and who might have wanted her dead. Fuelled by wanting to find the truth, Lincraft will unearth truths that others may not want to see the light of day, in a story that mixes greed, lust, and determination. Time is of the essence in this short piece, as a man’s life hangs in the balance while the townsfolk watch in awe. Field shows that he has a great handle on mystery writing with a legal flavour. Recommended for those who enjoy legal thrillers, particularly set in times past, as well as fans of David Field and his other series.

The first in the series, I am again impressed with the start to another David Field collection. The story develops an interesting legal thriller with a story set centuries ago, which forces the reader to accept both pieces to enjoy the story. There is the usual connection to the protagonist that Field has made a trademark of his writing, as well as the historic backdrop to educate the reader. Thomas Lincraft is unlike many men of his time, questioning all that is put before him. Not happy to accept his role in the larger legal machine, Lincraft seeks answers, even when he is warned away from doing so. His attention to detail and seeking for the truth will surely make many enemies for him, though he seems more concerned with ensuring the right person faces the consequences at the Coroner’s Inquest. Others in this piece offer interesting support for a narrative that has little time to lag. I can see myself curious to see those who make return visits to the series, as it will surely complement Lincraft’s role in the stories. I love history and David Field does a wonderful job at bringing it to life. Using Elizabethan England as the backdrop, the story grows from there and uses the knowledge of the time to flavour the narrative. With a curious mystery and the need for resolution, the reader is left to ponder the possibilities before the truth comes to the surface. However, the jury waits for no one, so it will have to come together as fast as Lincraft can find the central thread to the entire mystery.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for another wonderful novella. I love that I can tackle them in a day or two and feel as though I have accomplished something monumental.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: