Shroud of Dishonour
Shroud of Dishonour is the fifth of Maureen Ash’s Bascot de Marin Knights Templar mysteries. At this point Bascot, blinded in one eye while captive in Outremer, has returned to the Templar enclave in Lincoln after recovering at Lincoln castle where he was guest of Nicolaa de la Haye, castellan, and her husband, Gerard Camville, sheriff of Lincoln. It is May of 1202 and Bascot is set to depart for Portugal with a contingency of Templar forces.
Departure is delayed when the body of a local prostitute is found stuffed into a chest in the Templar chapel – along with 30 pieces of silver. One way or another, the Templars are involved. No sooner has Bascot agreed to work with the sheriff in tracking down the blasphemous murderer than another prostitute, a courtesan, is similarly garroted and left with another 30 pieces of silver. But this time a Templar cross is carved into the harlot’s breast. The honor of the Templar order is now at stake. Bascot and the sheriff’s sergeant, Roget, doggedly follow lead after lead to finally corner the killer in a violent and tragic climax.
As in her earlier books, the author has constructed a classic mystery with clues, red herrings, and a steady pace leading to a satisfying conclusion. The story displays an excellent sense of place and has plenty of interesting historical detail. Now and again the sense of time is broken by the use of modern terms like “post-mortem” and “on active duty.” But this doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of another fine medieval whodunit.