The Pardoner’s Crime by Keith Moray

‘His mind saw profit ahead.’

1322, West Yorkshire.  Albin of Rouncivale, a Pardoner was at Pontefract Castle in March when the Earl of Lancaster is executed.  The Earl, and others, have been declared traitors by King Edward II.

A couple of months later, Sir Richard Lee, Sergeant-at-Law and Circuit Judge, together with his assistant Hubert of Loxley, are on their way to Sandal Castle.  Sir Richard has been newly appointed as Circuit Judge of the King’s Northern Realm and is on his way to Sandal Castle near Wakefield when he encounters outlaws.

The paths of Sir Richard and Albin of Rouncivale will cross, in some unexpected ways.

‘I am Albin of Rouncivale and I bring pardons to those in need.’

But first, Sir Richard needs to establish his authority in Wakefield.  Before he arrives at Sandal Castle, he learns of a rape, which he intends to investigate. Sir Thomas Deyville, Deputy Steward of the Manor of Wakefield (resident at Sandal Castle) sees himself as dispensing the King’s Law and is not inclined to welcome Sir Richard.

But all is not as it seems.  Sir Richard’s first cases point to a local outlaw, one Robert Hood, as being the main suspect.  And then the Pardoner confesses to a crime.

What is happening in Wakefield?

I read this novel quickly, trying to work out who was guilty of what (and why).  I enjoyed the way in which Mr Moray described the setting and provided the historical background to the period.  And I really enjoyed the way in which Sir Richard worked it out.

While I’d managed to work out a couple of pieces of the puzzle, I hadn’t fitted all the pieces together before the end.  I am now looking forward to the second novel in this series.  I’ve enjoyed Mr Moray’s Inspector Torquil McKinnon series, and I’ll be adding this series to my reading list as well.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith