Saturday, November 10, 2018

ARC Review: Those Who Go By Night by Andrew Gaddes

Those Who Go By Night
Author: Andrew Gaddes
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)

Description: A gruesome murder in a sleepy 14th-century English village sets the stage for a taut drama laced with witchcraft, depravity, and long-buried secrets.

England, 1324―a land rife with superstition and gripped by fear of the Church’s holy wrath. When a beggar is murdered in the quiet village of Bottesford, his body draped across the altar of St. Mary’s church in a perverse pose of pagan sacrifice, the Pope’s Inquisitor General places the small hamlet in his sights.

Anxious to stave off the Inquisition, the Bishop of Lincoln dispatches Thomas Lester, son of a disgraced Templar Knight, to investigate―but the Archbishop’s fanatical emissary has already arrived to conduct his own inquiry. Thomas’s investigation uncovers a viper’s nest of perfidious players: the secretive wife of the local lord, a notorious Irishwoman accused of witchcraft, and a depraved assassin who has left a trail of murder and blackmail in his wake. As this sordid drama unfolds, Thomas finds himself falling in love with a woman whose beauty is matched only by her defiance of the Church’s fearsome power.

Is the killer poised to strike again? Will the Inquisition bring its hammer down on the hapless hamlet? And could there be a real witch hiding in plain sight? The race is on to conjure the truth.

My Thoughts: This historical mystery takes place in Bottesford in 1324. England is ruled by Edward II who has given much of his power to corrupt favorites. Superstition is common and the Inquisition would like a foothold in England. When a man is found dead on the altar of the local church, the Bishop of Lincolnshire sends in Thomas Lester to try to find out who killed him and find a way to keep the out of his area.

Thomas arrives after Friar Justus, a Dominican who is looking for heresy and who is more than willing to use torture to force "confessions" so that he can bring in the Inquisition. The local lord definitely wants to keep the crime local and nonsecular so that he doesn't draw any attention to his lands. He managed to remain neutral in the building conflict and would like to keep it that way.  However, he is not a well man and doesn't have much choice but to cave under Justus's pressure.

Friar Justus finds "crimes" wherever he looks. He is suspicious of the recent death of the parish priest who was known to have a bad heart. When the local miller is found hanging, he is sure that is more of the devil's work. Thomas is more convinced that there are rational explanations for the deaths though he isn't able to identify the killer or the motive.

The strongest part of this mystery concerned the women characters. The lord of the manor's daughter Cecily becomes Thomas's love interest as he ponders the advantages of marrying her. The lord of the manor's strange second wife Isabelle is definitely a suspicious character. Lady Cecily's maid Hunydd has her own secrets. There is also the convicted witch Dame Alice who has fled from Ireland and is hiding in a cottage in the woods.

All of the women have secrets that play into the mystery. We know that one of them is a practicing witch but it is quite late in the story before we find out which one it is. Meanwhile, a couple of the others are herbalists quite familiar with poisons.

This was an entertaining mystery which makes me extremely happy to live in the century I do. The roles of women at the time are well described and rather appalling.

Favorite Quote:
Justus threw his hands into the air and lifted his face to the heavens. "Oh, Lord, send fire, send lightning, let the earth open and swallow her."

Alice paused and looked about, turning her face first to one side and then the other.

"Shall we give Him a moment or two?" she asked in a perversely reasonable manner.

She lifted the hem of her shift and stamped on the ground. "No, nothing, I'm afraid."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Stranger and stranger. Third book with a religious background found on my blogroll today. Love it.


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