Sleuthing nun takes on Chaucer's London and murderous plots
A Parliament of Spies
By Cassandra Clark
St. Martin's Press
This medieval mystery is set in fourteenth century London. The main character, Hildegard, a Cistercian nun at the Abbey of Meaux in Yorkshire, has been summoned by the Archbishop of York to act as his spy in Parliament. As Hildegard, the Archbishop Neville and his entourage journey to London, Hildegard works to solve the murders of more than one servant in the Archbishop’s employ. Many surprises rear their heads in this dark London, where enemies of King Richard II are everywhere, the French are about to attack, and the city is in an uproar. Hildegard needs to ferret out who can be trusted, to whom she should be loyal, and the answers are not black and white.
I was not able to take the measure of Hildegard during the course of this reading. She is a nun of many somewhat contradictory feelings and actions and her decisions seem erratic. The story was full of descriptions of medieval London and the history of the time and was fascinating. The series begins with Hangman Blind.