The Notary

Written by Catherine Jinks
Review by Sarah L. Nesbeitt

Raymond Maillot’s passable skills as a notary have always taken second place to the pleasures of the flesh. However, when the sober Dominican monk called Father Amiel asks for his assistance with a high-level investigation into sorcery and murder, Raymond can hardly refuse. As the pair’s scrutiny into this case continues, it’s hard to say what challenges Raymond the most: finding a motive for a ghastly murder in which the victim’s private parts were severed; his unforeseen desire to improve his carefree life by joining the church; or the agreement he makes with Father Amiel to stay celibate until their work is finished.

Fourteenth century Avignon comes alive in full color under Jinks’ pen. No stone is left unturned in her very human portrayal of Raymond, trying so hard to be worthy of Father Amiel’s regard but barely able to keep his lustful nature under control. His adventures, as written, are at once lewd, literate, and laugh-out-loud funny. As with The Inquisitor, the author’s previous medieval thriller, this novel assures a thumping good read. The murder mystery within the book is absorbing in itself, but the real crime here is that Jinks’ novels are not published outside Australia.