Marked to Die

Written by Sarah Hawkswood
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This medieval whodunit is set in 1143 in what are now the West Midlands. Droitwich, or Wich as it was known then and as such can be found in the Domesday Book, is and was famous for its salt production. Salt was produced from the local brine pits and then taken around the area by teams of pack horses to provide the monasteries and manor houses, etc., with this much-needed commodity. All is well until, for no apparent reason, a train of ponies is attacked and every man killed by a well-aimed arrow, including Lord Corbin FitzPayne. Many questions are asked. Why the salt trains, why Lord FitzPayne, and who was the mysterious archer who killed silently and unseen and then apparently disappeared without a trace? Was he human or a ghostly apparition? Hugh Bradcote, the undersheriff, and Serjeant Catchpoll are sent by the Sheriff of Worcester to find out.

The story unravels with many twists and turns and, in doing so, describes the way of life in the12th century. The characters are well developed, and the many dead ends keep the reader’s interest and the pages turning. I had not come across this author before but will certainly put her on my list. If the others in the series are as good as this one, they will easily pass a dark winter’s evening curled up in front of the fire.