Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Caught Red-Handed by Denise Domning
Narrator: Gildart Jackson
Published by Tantor Audio on December 8, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Length: 8 hours, 5 minutes
THE DEAD WALK!
It’s the time of year when the immortal army of the ancient king rides Watling Street and the dead become uneasy in their graves. Indeed, in the far north of Warwickshire, the villagers insist that one dead man returned to kill his only son. Now it’s up to Sir Faucon de Ramis, the shire’s new Crowner, to run the walking corpse to ground and put him back where he belongs.
Servant of the Crown Mystery series is one I discovered last year and also discovered a new narrator to add to my favorites list at the same time. I binged on the four earlier installments and then tried to be patient for the long wait until this one. But Caught Red-Handed is here and I dove in and listened all in one setting. Imagine my delight to see the fun spooky twist the author wove into her medieval-era murder mystery.
Sir Faucon is settling into his royally-appointed task as Keeper of the Pleas or King’s Coronarius for Warwickshire while watching his back because the sheriff of the shire wants him dead since the truth Faucon knows after a certain murder investigation is a danger to the man. Not to mention the fact that Faucon’s new duties remove investigating murders and levying fines from the sheriff and thus depriving him of charging extra fines or bribe money to look the other way.
Sir Faucon is assisted by a sharp-tongued and bookishly clever Benedictine monk, Brother Edmund, his man at arms, Alf, and, of recent date, his own older brother in a shaky new peace between them.
They are about to stay at a Cisternian Monastery overnight on their way to perform a task in the area when a common villager and the village priest from a place to the north beg help to prevent a sacrilege. The villager, Wattard, says his step-son was killed that morning by his deceased father. A father, who has been a member of the walking dead for several years, but has become more active of late. While Faucon is digesting the news that a corpse is animated and ambling around a village, the father pleas with the abbot to protect the body of his step-son from getting chopped up for fear it will also walk.
Faucon’s hunter instincts rise and he suspects this is a task that falls into his bailiwick more than the abbot’s and goes hunting murder and shambling corpses even while Brother Edmund beguiles him with tales of the Wild Hunt who charge down Watling Street not far off and Harlequin and his wicked army of the dead.
Yep, Medieval Zombies! I chuckled with glee when Faucon had to investigate that one. I was also thrilled that the ongoing series thread about the serial killer of little girls was come to a tension-filled head in this one.
What I’ve always enjoyed about these is the attention to the historical setting, to the developing of the characters and their personal backgrounds, and to the clever mysteries. I enjoy the camaraderie Faucon shares with his group as they all work together to solve the crimes. This one was easier than most to work out, but it was still entertaining and exciting.
In the end, Faucon figures out the truth and things are left at a good place to start a new series arc. I am left looking forward to the next installment. Those who enjoy the medieval era and love a good murder mystery should definitely pick these up and definitely read them in order.
What more can I say than Gildart Jackson brings these books to vibrant life and makes me see the characters, their expressions, and their medieval world. His narration was what made a good series so much better and I doubt I could read the books without hearing him voice the characters. I must listen to more of his work.
Listen to a clip: HERE