When an unidentified body is discovered in the harbour town of Axmouth, twenty miles from Exeter, Sir John de Wolfe, the county coroner is called to investigate. The manner of the young man's death is a matter of some dispute - but, as Sir John soon discovers, it was no accident. The victim did not drown, as the manor reeve alleges, but was strangled to death. In the ensuing murder investigation, Sir John is frustrated by what appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the seamen and townsfolk. Just what is the local population trying to hide? As Crowner John is to learn, there are those who would go to any length to ensure the shocking truth remains hidden. And the coroner must draw on all his resources of courage, cunning and determination if he is to escape from Axmouth with his life.
1195. Prince John still plots to seize the throne from his brother, Richard the Lionheart--and in his wicked schemes, he is supported by Philip of France. The French king offers to help John financially by sending him a mysterious alchemist, a Mohammedan named Nizam, who claims to be able to turn base materials into gold. But the ship that was transporting Nizam and his retainers is found wrecked off the south Devon coast, its crew savagely slaughtered. Shortly afterward, a Norman knight named Peter le Calve is foully murdered, his severed head stuck on the rood screen of Exeter cathedral. It's up to Sir John de Wolfe, the county coroner, to find a motive and connection between the killings. And just what is his unscrupulous brother-in-law, the disgraced ex-sheriff and Prince John-sympathizer, Richard de Revelle, trying to hide?
October, 1195. High-spirited young knights, drunken squires, pickpockets and horse thieves are pouring into Exeter for a one-day jousting tournament. During the tournament there’s a serious altercation between Hugo Peverel, and Reginald de Charterai. When, two days later, Sir Hugo’s body is found in a barn on his estate, de Charterai would seem the obvious culprit. But there’s no shortage of people who wished the hated Hugo dead. All three of his brothers have a motive; as do his stepmother and his young widow. The manor reeve, Warin Fishacre, had his own reasons to loathe his lord and master. With so many suspects, Sir John de Wolfe, the county coroner, hardly knows where to begin.
A Crowner John medieval mystery set in 12th century Devon, England Christmas Eve, 1194. Sir John de Wolfe gratefully escapes his wife Matilda's party to examine the body of a canon who has been found hanged. Suicide is suspected, but it is soon apparent there's more to this case than meets the eye. As always, John's investigations are hampered by his brother-in-law, Sheriff Richard de Revelle. But when a local lord is killed, John begins to suspect the cases are linked and that Sir Richard's reasons for delaying the investigation may be more serious than his usual acts of petty vengeance. Desperately trying to deflect Sir Richard's plots against him, John is soon at loggerheads with Matilda and even his mistress Nesta. But as he digs deeper, he uncovers a deadly conspiracy that could cost him far more than the women in his life ...
A Crowner John medieval mystery set in 12th century Devon, England Gilbert de Rideford is a Knight of the Temple of Solomon, and an old acquaintance from Crowner John's crusading days. He claims to have come into possession of a secret that could shake Christendom to its foundations - and he desperately needs John's help to escape from the secretive order of warrior monks. Suddenly swept into a world of religious intrigue and dangerous politics, Crowner John finds himself undertaking a life-threatening mission to the Island of Lundy - inhabited solely by notorious pirates - until finally the awful secret itself is revealed.
Exeter, 1195. During renovations at the new school in Smythen Street, funded by Crowner John's brother-in-law Richard de Revelle, a semi-skeletalized body is found in the loft of an outhouse. The coroner is called in to investigate. When the dead man is identified as the missing treasurer of the guild of Cordwainers, de Revelle immediately puts the blame on a young outlaw—a Cornish knight named Nicholas de Arundell—whose Devon manor de Revelle had illegally appropriated while Arundell was away at the Crusades. The ex-sheriff claims the body was dumped there to discredit his new school. The investigation takes on greater urgency when another guild-master is found dead on the road from Tavistock to Exeter. Is Nicholas de Arundell, the "noble outlaw," really responsible? Or could there be another culprit entirely?