‘The Leper’s Return’ is the 6th novel in the Templar Knights series by Michael Jecks. This story is mostly set in the small town of Crediton which contains a leper hospital where one dedicated priest looks after half a dozen afflicted men.
In medieval England, many people believed that leprosy was a punishment by God for sins, while the church stance was that lepers suffered purgatory on earth and would go straight to heaven. Most of the simple folk of Crediton feared and despised the lepers and would prefer them out of town. In addition to their terrible disease, the lepers lived in squalor, on the edge of starvation and were often taunted and attacked.
When Godfrey, a retired goldsmith and the richest man in Crediton is murdered, people are quick to blame John of Irelande, a womaniser and known liar. But when Godfrey’s daughter Cecily starts to help the lepers, some accuse the lepers of magic. Baldwin knows that Cecily is lying about something to do with her father’s death, but is she protecting someone or is she actually the murderer?
Keeper of the King’s peace, Sir Baldwin Furnshill, is not making much progress with the case until his friend Simon Puttock arrives to help.
But Simon provides another distraction. He has arrived with his wife Margaret and the lady who Baldwin wants to marry, Jeanne. Jeanne has also brought her maid Emma – the maid from hell. Is Baldwin’s love for Jeanne strong enough to put up with Emma?
As Simon and Baldwin continue their investigation in Crediton, Baldwin’s household does its best to manage Emma.
This was one of the most enjoyable novels in the series so far. It was a love story on many different fronts but also showed the horrid lives most lepers lived and the greed, prejudice and ignorance of many people at the time.
There were many twists and turns in the mystery and Baldwin took a long time to dedicate himself to finding a solution.
I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series – ‘Squire Throwleigh’s Heir’.
Book Published 1998