Sunday, 2 September 2018

Prince Edward's Warrant by Mel Starr - review of a historical mystery novel

When you are a fan of the Cadfael mysteries this might be the book for you as well. We are still in medieval England but a century after the Cadfael settings. Master Hugh is a surgeon who is summoned to the court of the crown prince of England, the man we now know as 'the black prince'. Prince Edward is not feeling well. His intestines are troubling him again and master Hugh has cured him before. However during the first evening meal at court the knight who accompanied Hugh to court drops dead. It is soon clear the man was poisoned. The prince gives master Hugh the task to go and find the murderer.

The murder mystery is not the biggest appeal of this novel but the worldbuilding is. I had the feeling I was watching a movie about 14th century London. The writer weaves all kind of historical, medical and theological details in the story and also uses a lot of contemporary words. You can almost see the houses in a street in London been built over the street and thus blocking the sunlight, the traffic jams on London bridge or the different food people dining in the manor house were given depending on their status and thus seating. I also was surprised of the difference between a surgeon and a physician in those days. It is like reading a history lesson disguised as a well written mystery.


It is part of a series but this novel was the first I read of that series - I was given it as a ARC to write an honest review about it - and it works well as a stand alone story. Though I would advice people to read the series in a chronological order as sometimes older events are mentioned.

a 5 out of 5 stars
 

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