‘The Traitor of St Giles’ is the 8th novel in the Templar Knights series by Michael Jecks featuring Keeper of the Kings Peace Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock as they solve mysteries in 1300s England.
It is 1321 and the backdrop of this story is the fear of civil war approaching. The favourites of King Edward II are the Despenser family. Their privileged position has allowed then to steal land and goods from various Lords around the country. The Marcher Lords have arrived in London to protest and the King has agreed to exile the Despensers. But people fear the Despensers will return and the main factions are trying to form alliances (mainly by bribery) with Lords around the country.
Baldwin and Simon are visiting Lord Hugh de Courtenay at Tiverton Castle for the feast of St Giles. Lord Hugh has recently been visited by an old Templar colleague of Baldwin’s, Sir Gilbert to try to gain his support for the Despensers. Others within the castle oppose this idea. Now Sir Gilbert lies dead in the forest and his valuables are missing.
Not far from Sir Gilbert lies another body – that of Philip Dyne. Philip has confessed to the rape and murder of his girlfriend and is now abjuring the realm (leaving England by the shortest path). If he leaves the road he may be executed and this seems to be what has happened.
The coroner makes a quick decision about Sir Gilbert’s death but Baldwin and Simon see the coroner as fat, lazy and possibly corrupt. So they continue to investigate. Their job is further complicated by another murder. And, Sir Gilbert’s valuables are nowhere to be found.
With many people staying at the castle for the feast, there are various political factions, secret meetings and political manoeuvring. In addition, Sir Gilbert’s past as a Templar Knight has raised the ire of some. Baldwin has still not plucked up the courage to tell his wife Jeanne that he was once a Templar Knight himself.
Gradually, through their tenacity, Baldwin and Simon unravel the various mysteries in Tiverton, placing themselves in grave danger along the way.
Baldwin’s servant Edgar once again plays a vital part in protecting Baldwin and Simon as well as rearranging his love life.
This was another great mystery and I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series – ‘The Boy Bishop’s Glovemaker’.
Book Published 2000