‘Squire Throwleigh’s Heir’ is the 7th novel in the Templar Knights series by Michael Jecks featuring the medieval sleuths Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Simon Puttock.
Baldwin’s marriage to Jeane is rapidly approaching and he is beginning to feel nervous. As a Templar Knight he took a vow of chastity. He wonders if the Church’s betrayal of his order releases him from his vow.
In the days before the wedding, one of his guests, Squire Roger of Throwleigh suddenly dies of a heart attack. When Baldwin and Simon attend the funeral they are disturbed by the hostility shown toward the 5 year old heir Herbert. So, when Herbert dies, apparently run down by a horse and cart, Baldwin immediately suspects that he has been murdered.
When Baldwin and Simon arrive to investigate the death, they find that Herbert has indeed been murdered and there are plenty of suspects.
Lady Katherine blamed her son for the death of her beloved husband since his behaviour had caused Roger to lose his temper shortly before his death.
Roger’s brother Thomas is desperate for money to pay off his debts. He was horrified when he arrived for Roger’s funeral to find there was an heir.
Edmund, a farmer on Roger’s estate was facing eviction and had just had his free status revoked. He may have sought revenge on the family.
Sir James van Relenghes has been making moves on the distraught Katherine.
Brother Stephen, the priest and tutor, is well known for beating young boys in his care.
Katherine’s maid Annie blamed Herbert for the death of her son Tom.
With so many motives and all the suspects having plenty of opportunity, it takes Baldwin and Simon a long time to find the murderer as they eliminate the suspects one by one.
The actual murderer was a complete surprise to me and the final pages of the book were even more of a surprise.
Once again I greatly enjoyed this novel. As much for the study of medieval life in a country manor as for the mystery.
There were plenty of sub-plots going on among the servants of the manor which kept the story exciting. One of my favourite parts was when Simon’s servant Hugh got into a fight with some rough men. Jeanne was fairly quiet in this story (despite getting married) and I look forward to her having a greater role in the future.
The next novel in the series is – ‘Belladonna at Belstone’.
Book Published 1999