St. Martin's, Feb 2002, 23.95, 274 pp.
While on a hunt with his hounds, local constable Henry Beaumont finds the crushed corpse of Martin Reynard. Outraged that the homicide occurred on his lands and to a former employee of his, Henry investigates the crime. Having no experience on murder cases, Henry ignores motive and opportunity to decide that only the blacksmith had the means i.e., the strength to perform this odious act. Henry places the big man in the dungeon.
William the Conqueror's Domesday commissioners Ralph Delchard and Gervase Bret head an entourage handling a local land dispute. When the King's team learn of Henry's rush to judgment, they feel the constable did not do an adequate investigation. They begin their own inquiries into what really happened to Martin.
THE FOXES OF WARWICK is a superb eleventh century mystery that brings the era to life as rarely seen in a novel though the period graces myriad of books. The story line is insightful, vividly descriptive, and contains a fabulous who-done-it with a rational twist of an ending. The characters are warm and feel real, making the age seem even more colorful for the audience. The Domesday series is one of the best medieval mystery collections on the market and author Edward Marston has written a tale worthy of award consideration.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner