The Colour of Shadows (Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery)

Written by Toni Mount
Review by K. M. Sandrick

A young white-haired boy is found dead in the workshop behind Sebastian Foxley’s home and scrivener’s establishment in 1479 London. Days later the white-haired young son of a neighbor is kidnapped, sending Foxley and his cousin Adam Armitage on the hunt.

Foxley is no stranger to crime and its unraveling; The Colour of Shadows is eighth in Mount’s medieval mystery series. As a result, Foxley has long-standing relationships with criminal investigators. He has worked with bailiff Thaddeus Turner to piece together clues and their ramifications and irked Master Fyssher, the overseer of unexplained deaths, by outwitting and solving crimes Fyssher didn’t realize had happened in the first place.

The Colour of Shadows is a satisfying mystery, with well-plotted yet unexpected twists and turns from start to finish. Characters are vivid. Readers meet members of Foxley’s household, including his wife, cousin, apprentices, and house staff, as well as “men of substance,” beggars, prostitutes, and henchmen. Dialogue and description resonate with idiom and feudal turns of phrase. Scenes are evocative, revealing the details of tradesmen’s lives, the perils posed by tides and marshes, the dangers associated with childbirth, and the mournfulness of dementia. The Colour of Shadows is painted in many different shades.