The Sempster’s Tale

Written by Margaret Frazer

This is the latest in Margaret Frazer’s Dame Frevisse mystery series and is set in London during the reign of Henry VI. Anne Blakhall is a widow, supporting herself as a sempster or seamstress, and London is in revolt against the ineffectual king and his hated lords who rule the kingdom through him. The Earl of Suffolk is exiled, taking most of his gold with him. But he is murdered on the way and somehow the gold has to be brought back, secretly, into England and restored to his widow, the Lady Alice, whose cousin just happens to be Dame Frevisse of St. Frideswide’s nunnery. Dame Frevisse is sent to London to bring the gold back to Lady Alice, her contact being Anne Blakhall, but it is not long before she is also embroiled in the finding of a body, left in a Church crypt in very suspicious circumstances.

15th-century London is vividly brought to life in this book. The characters are fully three-dimensional, and the identity of the killer is a well-guarded secret until the final chapters.

A book which I very much enjoyed reading.