Monday, January 07, 2013

Matthew Shardlake series

I have started Heartstone by bestselling author C. J. Sansom. It is the fifth  of the Matthew Shardlake mystery series. The setting is 16th century England. King Henry VIII has now married wife number six, Catherine Parr, and is preparing England for war with France.

As usual Matthew Shardlake, the narrator, has several mysteries to solve.  The main one has to do with an assignment from the caring Queen Catherine who has Matthew representing the legal interests of the son of her retired maid.  Michael Calfill, the son of the retired maid died, presumably at his own hands, just before laying a Bill of Information before the Court of Wards in which he alleged some monstrous injustice against a former student, Hugh Curteys by his caregiver.  I am anxious to find out what the "monstrous injustice" really is.  I can guess that Michael's death was no suicide because he would not have killed himself just before the hearing.  The second mystery has to do with Ellen Fettiplace who suffers from agoraphobia and has been living for years in Bedlam, a place for the mentally ill.   Who exactly has been paying her bills at the Bedlam for nineteen years and where is her family?  Ellen was a character in the fourth book, Revelation.   The third and minor mystery has to do with Matthew's steward, Coldiron.  He is a new character in the series. Is Josephine his daughter?  Why is she really afraid of Coldiron?  Will Matthew be able to dismiss him and keep Josephine as an employee.  Finally, will Jack Barak, Matthew's law clerk and a recurring character from the previous series, really be conscripted in the military?  I am only on page 90 and I am loving all these mysteries. 

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