The Tavern In The Morning by Alys Clare

One of the problems with my shall-we-say near obsession with Paul Doherty’s historical mysteries is that, despite starting a number of other series, as shown by the “Other Historical Mysteries” tab, the only one that has appear continuously on my TBR pile is the Sister Fidelma books by Peter Tremayne. Already in ‘Nother Chance November, I’ve returned to Michael Jecks, and am currently halfway through Bernard Knight’s The Poisoned Chalice, but in the meantime, here’s the third in the series by Alys Clare, the Hawkenlye Mysteries.

To recap, in Fortune Like The Moon, Josse D’Acquin is sent to Kent by Richard I to investigate a murder near Hawkenlye Abbey, where he meets the Abbess Helewise. Staying in the area, D’Acquin and Helewise sorting out a mystery involving the odd behaviour of one of the nuns in the abbey. I mentioned in the review of that book, Ashes Of The Elements, that perhaps a change of scene was required to keep the series fresh. So, how does the series continue?

Well, after a pretty irrelevant diversion to see Queen Eleanor to get out of paying Prince John’s taxes, D’Acquin becomes involved in a poisoning in a local tavern. This rapidly evolves into a hunt for the possible intended victim of the poisoning and a mysterious woman and young boy hiding in the nearby woods. Needless to say, D’Acquin soon requires the assistance of the abbess…

Mystery-wise, there’s not a lot here. There is a sort-of twist in the story with regards the motive for the shenanigans, but there’s no real mystery. It doesn’t take long before the villain of the piece is revealed and the sort-of twist is nowhere near impressive enough to counter this. But…

OK, deep breath…

Oh dear, how am I going to put this? I mentioned that the previous book seemed a bit padded. Well, the same problem occurs with this one, but the form of the padding… well, it’s quite a lot of, as Miranda Hart would say, S.E.X. And some rather laborious “is this the thing people call… love?” dialogue about the whole thing. Oh, and possibly the most bizarre final chapter that I’ve ever read…

To summarise things, though, this would be it for this series, if I hadn’t ordered the next one second hand for 62p. But as I ordered a load of other stuff as well, it’ll be a while before I return to Hawkenlye. With so many other excellent medieval mysteries out there – Jecks, Tremayne, Doherty – I’m afraid this one falls well short.


    • Very kind of you to say so. It’s very hard to write a review of a mystery-that-isn’t-really-a-mystery as so little happens, plot-wise, it’s hard not to spoil it. After all, it’s spoiler-free here even for books that I didn’t particularly get on with 🙂


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