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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Tintern Treasure by Kate Sedley

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: England, 1483

First Sentence: I would never have been involved in the affair if the handle of Adelina's best iron cooking pot hadn't come loose.

This novel is the twenty-first in Kate Sedley's Roger the Chapman mystery series.

When Roger was young he was a novice in a Benedictine monastery.  He chafed at the strict rules and the restricted victuals.  Preferring the freedom of the open road, Roger left the monastery and became an itinerant peddler, a chapman.

Roger's inquisitiveness, intelligence, and education give him the unique ability to solve mysteries and puzzles.  He does not actively seek involvement in these situations.  Yet, he often finds himself unwillingly entangled in them.  Eventually, Roger's successes gained him the notice of  the Duke of Gloucester, the future King Richard, and his master spy.

Roger lives in Bristol with his wife, Adelina, and their children.  The people of Bristol believe, wrongly, that he is in the pay of the King.  However, it is Roger's ability to connect seemingly random clues that sometimes entangles him in political intrigues.

In this chapter of the series, there is some question about the legitimacy of King Richard's ascent to the throne.  There is talk of rebellion.  The Duke of Buckingham and Henry Tudor pose threats to King Richard's reign.

When Roger and several other men from Bristol find themselves threatened by Buckingham's advancing army, they seek refuge at Tintern abby where there is a tale of a mysterious hidden treasure.

When Roger returns to Bristol, he learns of the murder of a fellow peddler.  Soon, some curious robberies arouse Roger's interest.  Roger feels that the murder, the robberies, and the treasure are somehow linked.

Will Roger uncover the truth about the Tintern abby treasure?  And will he discover how the treasure is connected to the unrest surrounding King Richard's reign?

I am a fan of the Roger the Chapman mysteries.  Unfortunately, I missed the two novels before this one in the series.  So it took me several chapters to get up to speed.  I did like the way Sedley worked the exposition into the story line.  It filled in some parts of the story I had missed.  This novel holds up by itself, but reading it in order would definitely make it more enjoyable.

The Tintern Treasure

Death and the Chapman - the first book in the series.

Check out my eBook!

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