MURDER WEARS A COWL (Historical Mystery-London-1302 – Poor
Doherty, P.C. – 5th in series
Headline, 1992 – UK Hardcover
King Edward has been notified that unless someone uncovers the killer of a number of London’s courtesans, they may begin exposing their high-ranking client’s secrets. It has also been rumored that Richard Puddlicott, the most wanted man in London, as been seen. Newly dubbed Sir Hugh Corbett, the king’s clerk, and his manservant Ranulf have been ordered to the task. But the pattern changes when first Lady Somerville and then a priest are murdered. Corbett’s only clue is a cryptic muttering by Lady Somerville that “the cowl does not make a monk. It’s up to Corbett to determine whether the deaths are related and whether there is one murderer or two.
That many of the events in the book were based on fact was fascinating. Otherwise, I had some serious problems with this book. There was no development of any of the characters. The dialogue made no serious attempt to reflect the period. Although Doherty presented the deplorable sanity conditions of the period, his protagonist’s reactions were completely unrealistic and anachronisms were rampant, particularly when Hugh pulls out his wallet to pay in a time before paper money. The clue to the killer was much too obvious and the ending was a blatant sequel to a follow-up book. For me, the negatives definitely outweighed the positive.