St. Martin's, Aug 2002, 23.95, 256 pp.
In 1477 Roger the Chapman has enjoyed his second marriage for four months, especially the birth of his second child. However, Roger still feels restless as he senses that he is needed in Plymouth. He hitches a ride with Peter Threadgold who is traveling to see his daughter Joanna.
Roger learns from Joanna that someone viciously beat her neighbor Master Capstick to death with witnesses having seen the victim's great-nephew leaving the scene of the crime. However, when the King's men came to arrest Beric, he had vanished with many locals superstitiously believing that witchcraft through the application of THE SAINT JOHN'S FERN was used to make Beric invisible. Roger begins to investigate and that leads to attempts on his life and the insinuation that he was involved in a second homicide.
Perhaps this time Roger will appreciate home sweet home as his latest adventure turns quite personal and readers must accept his latest wanderlust. Though the mystery elements are cleverly written and nicely tied together in the climax, the story line belongs to graphic perusal of fifteenth century life in England. Roger remains a strong detective, but it is the historical elements that make Kate Sedley's latest who-done-it a winner for series fans and those readers who relish a resplendent look at medieval times.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner