Chaucer and the Doctor of Physic
Life for Chaucer in the 14th century would appear to have had its fair share of difficulties and intrigue. As poet, king’s diplomat and occasional spy he is dispatched to the Devon coast following his successful return from a mission in Florence. His remit initially appears to be to solve a case of theft from a Genoese shipmaster’s cargo which has been lodged in the warehouse belonging to the Mayor of Dartmouth.
En route to lodge with Dr Richard Storey who has a reputation as a doctor of physic, Chaucer and his two companions are duped by a deranged woman and set upon by outlaws. Following their rescue and arrival at the fine doctor’s house, they find that the family dynamics are stretched by disharmony between the new young stepmother and the adolescent son. Further strain is suffered when the small dog belonging to the highly-strung new wife is killed and the son is blamed.
The murder which follows is puzzling, and Chaucer becomes involved as the list of suspects grows. The storyline is adequate, though the links between characters seem rather too predictable and there is little sense of time and place.