Murder On Good Friday
Set in Hexham, England in 1220, this novel follows the efforts of the local bailiff, Lord Godwin, to clear the city’s Jewish community of accusations of the ritual murder of a young boy.
As a mystery, this book works quite well. Slowly Lord Godwin uncovers the truth, but experienced mystery readers may find they have solved the crime before the hero.
The author has a propensity for “dumping” large blocks of information into the narrative. There are also some rather unfortunate historical errors, most notably a reference to King John as still alive in May 1217. Modern slang and the presence of a rocking chair also pulled this reader from the story. On the other hand, Conway has a knack for bringing even the most minor characters to life with unique mannerisms and speech. And as characters are the key to any novel, the author shows great potential for creating a well-loved series. She also provides an interesting look at Christian/Jewish relations in thirteenth century England.