In 1385, disgraced knight Crispin Guest, known as the Tracker, an investigator of crimes, travels to Canterbury at the request of the archbishop to investigate a plot to steal or destroy the bones of Saint Thomas à Becket. When he arrives, he finds his old friend Geoffrey Chaucer and a group of pilgrims – the Wife of Bath, the Franklin, the Pardoner, the Summoner, and others – who are the models for Chaucer’s characters in the Canterbury Tales.
When Crispin falls asleep while guarding the tomb of Saint Thomas, the bones are stolen and one of the pilgrims, the Prioress, is murdered. Another murder, of a monk, soon follows. All the evidence points to Chaucer, who is arrested for the crime. Crispin believes his friend is innocent, and must use his investigative skills to find the murderer – and the bones of the saint – before Chaucer is sent to the gallows.
This is the fourth book in Westerson’s mystery series, but only the first I have read. It will definitely not be the last. Westerson has created an attractive, intelligent protagonist in Crispin Guest and a delightful sidekick in Crispin’s apprentice Jack Tucker, a boy Crispin had rescued from the streets and taught to read and write. Her knowledge of medieval England is extensive, but it never feels as if she is lecturing the reader. Instead, she draws you into the world of her characters. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys medieval mysteries, and I look forward to meeting Crispin and Jack again.