The Law of Angels

Written by Cassandra Clark
Review by Jen Black

In the summer of 1384, Hildegarde of Meaux, Abbess of the Cistercian order, is forced to leave Deepdale when armed men ransack the place seeking a bonded maid recently given shelter. She takes the terrified maid to York, which is stirring like a pot about to boil over because of the upcoming Corpus Christi festival of pageants, and soon finds herself in the centre of several odd happenings. Workshops burst into flames, the Guildmaster’s young wife behaves strangely and his young servant Jankin disappears. Then Hildegarde’s ancient cross is stolen from her and she sets out to retrieve it. In London, seventeen-year-old King Richard struggles against his uncle John of Gaunt, who refuses to give up control of the country to his ward.

The plot strands weave confusingly against one another in this historical crime novel, and kept this reader engaged until the very last page. The book is engaging and informative, written in a lively style, though the reader must not mind the occasional lapse into modern slang with expressions like ‘half-cut’ or ‘get the show on the road.’ The stern yet likeable Hildegarde is always centre stage. This is her third adventure, and those who have read Hangman Blind and The Red Velvet Turnshoe will know what to expect. There is no need to have read the previous novels, and this adventure stands well on its own, offering an intriguing glimpse of life among candle makers, artists and glaziers in 14th-century York. Students of literature will enjoy the working pageants towards the end of the story. I recommend it for your enjoyment.