Falconer and the Ritual of Death

Written by Ian Morson
Review by Sara Wilson

Oxford University, 1271, and Regent Master William Falconer is presented with a skeleton—minus its head—discovered when an old building is demolished. Falconer determines that the body must be at least 20 years old and recalls that during that time the ritual murder of a child had been blamed on the Jews by an appalled and angered community. But could that death really provide the solution to this mystery?

As the weather worsens, and Oxford is in danger of being flooded, one of the men who found the remains is himself killed, and Falconer begins to suspect the involvement of the Knights Templar.

In this sixth Falconer mystery Ian Morson conjures up all the bigotry and anti-Semitism of 13th-century England. He does a nice job in describing the academic community in Oxford and uses many convincing details to bring the period and atmosphere to life.

Falconer continues to grow and develop into an interesting and novel historical sleuth, and this latest book is definitely the most enjoyable so far. If you haven’t discovered Ian Morson’s series yet then this would be a great place to start.