The Pardoner’s Crime (Sandal Castle #1), by Keith Moray

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Keith Moray and Sapere Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A great fan of Keith Moray, I was interested to try this piece, completely different from his other work. When the publisher approached me, I thought there was no better time to give it a go, hoping for the best. The year is 1322 and Sir Richard Lee has been sent to Sandal Castle by the king, Edward II. A Sergeant-at-Law, Lee will preside over the local court and determine some of their legal matters. Along the way, Lee encounters a band of outlaws, headed by one Robert Hood. Permitted to pass, Lee is warned not to cause any trouble. However, a man’s body is soon found murdered, with an arrow through the eye. Lee cannot hep but wonder if this Hood character might be involved. When other crimes occur that could be tied to the group of outlaws, Lee demands that Robert Hood be brought before him to face questioning. That may be easier said than done, in this medieval tale of law and heroism. Moray paints quite the story here, far removed from many of the pieces of his I have read before. Recommended to those who enjoy all things medieval, as well as the reader who enjoys crime fiction of a more regal nature.

This was a walk on the wild side for me, as I am not used to reading much in the medieval realm. That which I have read has left me feeling less than impressed, but I wanted to give Moray the chance to convince me. The story flowed fairly well and those who enjoy the time period would get a lot more out of it than I did. I wanted to see Moray as he used this new period to see if he could enthral me as much as he does with his Scottish mysteries. The characters find themselves in the middle of much goings-on and it served the story well to have so many different perspectives. While I found a lack of connection to any of the particular characters, I was able to follow the plot well enough to feel I can speak confidently. Moray does well spinning this tale and kept me feeling as though I were right there, at the inquest as well as at court. I am not sold into becoming a true fan of the book, the series, or even the time period, but I made it through and I hope others find it to their liking, as Keith Moray has lots to say!

Kudos, Mr. Moray, for a decent novel. I will stick to your modern Scottish work, but I hope you acquire a fan case for this piece.

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