‘The Sticklepath Strangler’ is the 12th novel in the Knights Templar series by Michael Jecks which features ex Templar Knight and now Keeper of the kings Peace Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock.
Two ten year old girls in the Devon town of Sticklepath have just discovered a skull. And with a traveller passing through the town, the discovery has been reported to the authorities. When the Coroner, Roger deGidleigh arrives with Baldwin and Simon, they find that not all suspicious deaths have been reported.
Several years ago, a young girl was murdered and her body cannibalised. The villagers were certain that they knew the identity of the vampire and killed him, removing his heart and burning his body. But the killings have continued and the villages not only have to contend with a murderer in their midst but the guilt over killing an innocent man.
Roger, Baldwin and Simon arrive in a village full of depressed and traumatised people covering up a series of crimes. The atmosphere is far from welcoming.
Gradually they start to unravel the goings on in Sticklepath, even apportioning blame for some of the peripheral crimes. But, the main killer remains a mystery until the end.
This was a very atmospheric novel with a village full of superstitious and fearful people, led by a corrupt Reeve and a drunken priest.
Baldwin’s wife Jeanne was also there and I was disappointed that she didn’t play a greater role in solving the crime.
Once again it was Baldwin’s common sense and world experience that led the team in the right direction.
The novels in this series keep getting better with each addition and I’m looking forward to reading the next one – ‘The Devil’s Acolyte’.
Book Published 2001