‘The Crediton Killings’ is the 4th novel in the Templar Knights series by Michael Jecks. This story is set in the town of Crediton about 10 miles from Exeter.
Peter Clifford, an important man in the area, is hosting a visit from the Bishop of Exeter, Walter Stapleton. Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper of the King’s Peace and Simon Puttock the Bailiff of Lydford (along with his family) are also invited to attend. It is only when Baldwin sees his good friend Simon that he finds out about the recent death of Simon’s young son and heir. Both Simon and his wife Margaret are struggling to come to terms with their grief.
Also recently arrived in the town of Crediton is a group of mercenary soldiers led by Sir Hector de Gorsone. They are passing through the area, as they did several years earlier, and have taken over the local Inn.
Soon after the arrival of the mercenaries, Sir Hector’s silver is stolen and Baldwin and Simon are called in to do their jobs. Then the first body is found, stabbed and stuffed into a trunk. Suspicion falls on the newest member of the mercenary band and he is quickly captured and jailed.
Then two more dead bodies are found and clues point in a different direction.
But, Baldwin feels like he is being deliberately misdirected and, as usual, he must get to the truth and see justice served. He gradually gathers enough clues to lead him to the thief and killer.
Simon’s role in the investigation is minimal due to his grief over his son. But the act of getting back to work helps him to move forward.
There were a few surprises in this story. One being the decision by Simon and Margaret towards the end of the story (not what I expected). Another was the extremely compassionate nature of Bishop Stapleton, as high church figures of the time are normally portrayed as thinking themselves above ordinary people.
This was an excellent mystery and it was also good to get to know Simon Puttock (and also his servant Hugh) a bit better.
The description of the town of Crediton made it possible for me to hear, see and smell the place: the dark dangerous alleys; the sewerage (human and animal) flowing in a channel in the main street; the butcher slaughtering animals and dumping waste in public; the extreme poverty of those who couldn’t look after themselves.
I’m looking forward to continuing the series with ‘The Abbot’s Gibbet’.
Book Published 1997