King Arthur's Bones and The Medieval Murderers

Gaynor Madoc Leonard
07/18/13 05:07:35PM
302 posts

As members of Americymru will know from Ceri's interview with Sir Bernard Knight, The Medieval Murderers is a group of crime writers (including Sir Bernard) who collaborate to write a historical mystery.

I picked up King Arthur's Bones this week, in Carmarthen, and thoroughly enjoyed the story which begins in Glastonbury in 1191 and ends in London in 2004.

I won't give too much away but, quite clearly from the title, the story is about the discovery at Glastonbury of bones which appear to be those of King Arthur. The late 12th century was a crushing period for the Welsh and the bones of King Arthur would, of course, have provided the English with yet another hammer with which to hit us. Conversely, the bones would provide a rallying point for the Welsh, assuming they could be rescued and kept safe.

This provides the basis of the story and we see attempts to move the bones to safety over the next 8 centuries. If you want to know how it ends, you'll have to read the book!

Act One is written by Susanna Gregory (a nom de plume) who, I believe, lives in Carmarthenshire and of whom I am a great fan. I recommend her Matthew Bartholomew series, of which I think there are now about 20 books, These are set in 14th century Cambridge and are very well-researched. Matthew is a physician who is considered to have some rather avant-garde methods (he studied under an Arab doctor and believes in cleanliness) and, unlike his fellow physicians, is willing to treat the poor and does not believe in casting horoscopes. Along with his friend and colleague, Brother Michael, he investigates crimes in the town. There's a fair amount of gore and mystery but also a lot of humour.

She also writes a series set in Restoration London, about a character called Thomas Chaloner. These are also enjoyable.

The Medieval Murderers' books are a good way of enjoying a historical mystery and getting to know the style of each writer. Because of their stories, I've moved on to Bernard Knight''s own novels and those of Susanna Gregory.

updated by @gaynor-madoc-leonard: 11/11/15 10:38:57PM