The Guilt of Innocents
It has been a long wait for the new Owen Archer mystery, and fans will be keenly anticipating this, his ninth outing. It is the winter of 1372 in York, and Owen’s wife Lucie is expecting her third child. A boatman dies in a scuffle with the boisterous students of St Peter’s school, and Owen is called in to investigate. A scrip (purse) goes missing, and a birthing cross and ring are stolen. Then another man is killed, and the scene is set for a medieval murder mystery.
Robb has clearly researched her background thoroughly. The book is steeped in medieval institutions, whether it be craft guilds, the church or schools. Also, actual historical figures are included in the story to lend authority. The tale is cleanly written, but sometimes characterisation is minimal. The interplay between Owen and his family and servants is well drawn, however, and adds welcome warmth to the proceedings.