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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jecks’

The Last Templar by Michael Jecks caught my eye at the annual library sale because the London Times jacket notes said “The most wickedly plotted medieval mystery novel.”  I am drawn to medieval times, particularly the music and Gregorian chants, (and the Cloisters in NYC!), but I couldn’t recall ever seeing a mystery of any kind being written in this time period. I was intrigued.

I also have just enough information about the Templars – very little, that is – to want to know more. Let me say this. How this book is written is everything we are told in our workshops, critiques, etc. how not to write. It is all tell, and rarely show. Jecks wrote this in 1995, however, and I believe writing style was quite different then. This is also his style. For me, there was a bit of overkill throughout in how the bailiff, Simon Puttock, contemplated and worried about the murders of the town farmer and the abbott, Oliver de Penne, and had to consider Sir Baldwin Furnshill as a suspect.

And yet … I kept on reading! Why? The Last Templar had a pretty good plot and the mystery surrounding the murders was a good one. I was also enjoying the descriptions of medieval life and learning new words of the period. I enjoyed getting background on what was happening at the time with the Templars, the Pope, the Church and the Inquisition. It was a way of taking in some new history as well as solving a mystery!

One thing I really would have liked, as the main characters did a bit of traveling around England, was a map. This seems like a minor point, perhaps, but when in a new environment where locations are critical to the evolving story, I find a map invaluable. I love that the Mercy Thompson series has a map of the area of Washington State in which the story took place and that there is also one in Snow Falling on Cedars of San Piedro Island. Who lives where, where boats come in, what part of the island who grew up on all become intricate parts of the story. I like maps; I find them helpful in cases such as these.

Would you like The Last Templar? I think the writing style might not be for everyone, but if you like a good murder mystery ….

 

 

 

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