The Deadliest Sin (A Crispin Guest Mystery, 15)

Written by Jeri Westerson
Review by Elizabeth Knowles

This is the fifteenth and last Crispin Guest Medieval Noir mystery. Crispin, a Tracker (private eye) in 1399 London, forfeited his knighthood and estates when he supported the wrong side in a power contest between the Duke of Lancaster and the King. The story opens as that old conflict is re-igniting. Richard II is on the throne, but Henry Bolingbroke has returned from exile to threaten his reign.

With politics always in the background, Crispin and his assistant Jack Tucker investigate three deaths at St. Frideswide’s Priory. Crispin’s son Christopher, born of a liaison with his long-time love Philippa, assists. Philippa is supportive, but events have carried her out of Crispin’s reach.

The complex monastic murder mystery is eventually solved, but Bolingbroke is looming over Richard II, and Crispin’s fate is deeply intertwined with theirs. There is a lot going on in this stand-alone story: the murder mysteries, the political complexities, and Crispin’s personal relationships. I think fans who have followed the Tracker longer than I have will like the satisfying personal resolution. I found myself wishing there was going to be a next book. Since there isn’t, I purchased the first two volumes and happily started reading. Colorful, engaging characters, a richly textured dip into medieval life, and nail-biting suspense: it’s no surprise that this series has been nominated for thirteen national awards over the years.