‘The Boy Bishop’s Glovemaker’ is the 10th Knights Templar mystery by Michael Jecks.
In Exeter Cathedral (and many others) there is a tradition where one of the Boys in the choir is selected to be bishop for a day, on Holy Innocents Day, and the entire church hierarchy is turned on its head. The boys have a lot of fun, but not too much since they have to face their masters the next day.
In the year 1321, Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock are to be presented with ceremonial gloves by the boy bishop. They arrive early to spend Christmas in Exeter, and with Baldwin’s wife Jeanne pregnant, Baldwin would much rather be at home.
When they arrive in Exeter, they find that Ralph, the glovemaker, has been murdered and his apprentice arrested for the murder. Neither Simon nor Baldwin thinks that the right man has been arrested.
Then one of the secondaries of the Cathedral is poisoned and the Dean asks Baldwin and Simon to investigate.
It takes a detailed tour through medieval church politics and the merchants surrounding the church as well as some more murders before Baldwin and Simon can discover who is guilty of the crimes.
This was an excellent mystery but made more complex by the number of characters, particularly in the church. There was a useful glossary provided, but I found this more difficult to use with an ebook than I would have with a printed book.
The story gave some fascinating insights into medieval life – the ways in which people made and lost money, the social structure of a cathedral town, and the way in which those who were unable to earn were supported.
I’m looking forward to continuing the series with Baldwin, Simon, Jeanne and the other regular characters, in the next novel in the series – ‘The Tournament of Blood’.
Book Published 2000