St. Martin's, Dec 2004, 22.95, 224 pp.
Pilgrims journey to Canterbury, but are stopped by Luke Tiverton and his men providing the king's justice by hanging violators of the “King's Peace”. One of the pilgrims, the carpenter, faints at the grim sight. Continuing on their pilgrimage, the travelers stop for the night at St. Bardolph's Priory.
While resting at the priory, the carpenter narrates his tale. Simon Cotterill, the carpenter, follows his beloved to Gloucester where needing work he joins a hangman's crew. In the nearby forest women are vanishing without a trace and a disfigured corpse has been found in the vicinity. Mayor Humphrey assumes that witches are toiling and boiling in the area and quickly has three crones arrested. Trying to keep the panic down and to insure the town continues to flourish, the mayor and his cronies arrange a kangaroo midnight trial to insure a guilty charge. Three days later they are hung in the forest, but the hangmen flee a nasty storm. When they return the witches are gone and they seek revenge. Simon hides while also serendipitously tries to solve who the real killer is.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner