2019 Silver Falchion Candidate
BOOK OF THE DAY
The Deepest Grave
By Jeri Westerson
Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
The Deepest Grave
Review by Sharon Marchisello
The Deepest Grave, the 11th installment of the Crispin Guest medieval noir mystery series by Jeri Westerson (Severn House) has been nominated for a Silver Falchion award.
Degraded knight Crispin Guest has been banished from the royal court to live with commoners as a tracker, the medieval version of a private investigator. He has an apprentice, Jack Tucker, a reformed cut-purse; Jack and his pregnant wife Isabel live with Crispin.
When the story opens, a local priest, Father Bulthius Braydon of St. Modwen’s Church, hires Crispin to investigate terrifying sightings of corpses rising from the graveyard and becoming bloodsuckers. Skeptical, Crispin figures there has to be a logical explanation for the phenomena, but his and Jack’s late-night observation trip to the churchyard proves chilling.
The next day, Crispin gets another request for service, from Philippa Walcote, a former lover for whom he still carries a torch. She’s married to another man so is totally off-limits. Philippa’s seven-year-old son has been accused of murdering a neighbor and stealing the family reliquary, and he risks hanging for the alleged crimes. Philippa implores Crispin to investigate and find evidence of her son’s innocence. When he goes to interview Philippa’s son, it’s like looking in a mirror, and, doing some calculations, Crispin realizes that Philippa’s child is also his.
There’s a rich back story and history between the characters, but the author skillfully brings a new reader up to speed. The author also does a great job of evoking 14th century London. She provided a glossary at the beginning of the book to explain unusual terminology, but I seldom had to refer to it, as I was usually able to decipher unfamiliar words from their context.
The mystery is cleverly done and the two cases are interwoven. I got the impression that Crispin’s character has been somewhat hardened, but in this story, his heart begins opening up.
Jeri Westerson is a native of Los Angeles. In addition to her award-winning medieval noir mysteries, she writes a paranormal romance series. She is active in the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America as well as Sisters in Crime.
Sharon Marchisello (sharonmarchisello.com) is the author of Going Home, (Sunbury Press, 2014) a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and a nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth. One of her short stories was published in an anthology, Shhhh… Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018). She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta chapter of Sisters in Crime. Residing in Peachtree City, GA, Sharon does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners, and she also writes a blog about personal finance, Countdown to Financial Fitness https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/.