A Pilgrimage to Murder
by Paul Doherty
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Creme de La Crime
Released: March 1, 2017
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Summer, 1381. The Great Revolt has been crushed; the king’s peace ruthlessly enforced. Brother Athelstan meanwhile is preparing for a pilgrimage to St Thomas a Becket’s shrine in Canterbury to give thanks for the wellbeing of his congregation after the violent rebellion.
But preparations are disrupted when Athelstan is summoned to a modest house in Cheapside, scene of a brutal triple murder. One of the victims was the chief clerk of the Secret Chancery of John of Gaunt. Could this be an act of revenge by the Upright Men, those rebels who survived the Great Revolt?
Then Athelstan and others start receiving menacing messages from an assassin who calls himself Azrael, the Angel of Death. Who is he – and why is he targeting a harmless friar?
A Pilgrimage to Murder is a historical mystery set in 1381 in England. It's the 16th book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the previous mysteries. Much time was spent describing setting and historical details. The pilgrimage didn't start until nearly 60% of the way into the story, and they only traveled one day before it came to a halt.
Since people were being mysteriously murdered throughout the story and Athelstan was a target, it could have been very suspenseful. But so much time was spent describing the setting that it slowed the pace and dulled that suspense.
There were clues as to whodunit, but Athelstan kept some of the clues to himself until the big reveal. Still, I was able to guess whodunit (and was mostly correct). There was enough complexity to what was going on that there will be surprises as Athelstan describes who did what.
There were no graphic sex scenes or bad language. However, the many dead bodies were described in detail, from strangulation to decapitation to rotting heads on pikes. I enjoyed the historical detail and the characters, but I would have preferred less graphic detail about the corpses.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.