The Hour of the Fox (A Brother Chandler Mystery, 1)

Written by Cassandra Clark
Review by Edward James

Cassandra Clark is the author of the Abbess of Meaux series of mediaeval murder/mysteries.  She has now found a new sleuth, Brother Chandler.  His debut as an investigator is in the year 1399, the year Richard II was overthrown by Henry Bolingbroke.

There is indeed a murder, a novice nun whose body is found in one of the open streams which then passed through London, and Chandler does find the killer, but this is not really the heart of the story.  The investigation is soon caught up in the wider political turmoil which ends in the abdication and death of the king and the resolution of the mystery is almost an irrelevance.  It is more a political thriller than a murder/mystery.

What the story loses as a detective story it gains as a picture of everyday London life at the end of the 14th century and the febrile political atmosphere, which was to drag England into the Wars of the Roses.  Chandler is a complex character with divided loyalties and an unusual personal life. I look forward to meeting him again.