book cover of Satan in St Mary\'s
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Satan in St Mary's

(1986)
(The first book in the Hugh Corbett series)
A novel by

 
 
Publisher's Weekly
Building on an actual murder in 1284, Doherty (The Death of a King auspiciously begins a mystery series featuring Hugh Corbett, clerk of the King's Bench. Lawrence Duket, goldsmith, kills Ralph Crepyn, moneylender, and flees to London's St. Mary Le Bow for sanctuary. The next day Duket is found hanged inside the locked church, an apparent suicide. Bishop Burnell, Chancellor for King Edward I, assigns Corbett to investigate. Burnell fears that the antiroyal Populares party will join with practitioners of devil worshipat this time, ''Christianity is only skin deep.'' Hugh Corbett is threatened and attacked while probing ''a suicide which was really murder which . . . masked treason, sorcery and rebellion.'' The santanist group seems to be centered at The Mitre, a tavern owned by the beautiful Alice atte Bowe, with whom Corbett falls in love. The mystery is neatly done and Doherty's ease of scholarship in giving us the rich sights, sounds and smells of medieval London is masterful.

Genre: Historical Mystery

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