Medieval Miscreants – A Request For Help

My “Original Sins” strand is drawing to a close with one or two more books to come before the end of March and it’s time for my chronological trek through the world to historical mysteries to move to the medieval world. I’m going to try something rather ambitious with this thread and I think I’m going to need a bit of help from my adoring public.

The plan is to cover the medieval period, which I’m going to define as 1066 (William I taking the English throne) to 1485 (Henry VII winning the Battle of Bosworth Field and beginning the age of the Tudors) but I’m going to try and do it in chronological order. So I want to make sure that I don’t miss anything out.

To clarify – I’m looking at historical novels that contain attempts at genuine mysteries. I’ll only do one book per series, the earliest one that either a) I haven’t read or b) that the local library has.

In chronological order so far, I have lined up the following series:

  • Brother Cadfael – Ellis Peters
  • The Domesday Mysteries – Edward Marston
  • Adelia Aguilar – Ariana Franklin
  • Magdalane la Batarde – Roberta Gellis
  • Hawkenlye mysteries – Alys Clare
  • Catherine LeVendeur – Sharan Newman
  • Crowner John – Bernard Knight
  • Justin De Quincy – Sharon Kay Penman
  • The Templar Knight Mysteries – Maureen Ash
  • Falconer – Ian Morson
  • Eleanor of Wynthrope – Priscilla Royal
  • Hugh Corbett – Paul Doherty
  • Mathilde of Westminster – Paul Doherty
  • Baldwin & Puttock – Michael Jecks
  • The Name Of The Rose – Umberto Eco
  • Matthew Bartholomew – Susanna Gregory
  • Owen Archer – Candace Robb
  • Brother Athelstan – Paul Doherty
  • Sister Frevisse – Margaret Frazer
  • Joliffe – Margaret Frazer
  • Roger The Chapman – Kate Sedley
  • Kathryn Swinbrooke – Paul Doherty
  • Bishop Pecock – Margaret Frazer

That’s the lot so far – should keep “Medieval Miscreants” going for a while, but if anyone has any one-off or series to add, please let me know, especially for anything set at the beginning of the age in question – I think Cadfael is the earliest that I can find and I want to try not to miss anything out – and anything between Richard II and the Wars of the Roses. Even if you want to plug your own book, I’ll give it a go!

Thanks in advance for the help!


  1. In an effort to help you find early medieval mysteries I came across the books of Simon Beaufort which take place in the 1100s. The series character is SIr Geoffrey Mappestone. The first is set in Jerusalem, the others take place in England. “Simon Beaufort” is a pseudonym for the writing teams of Susanna Gregory and Beau Riffenburgh, BTW.

    There is also Sylvian Hamilton who writes books set in the mid 13th century. The first one THE BONE PEDLAR sounds more like a supernatural thriller. The second, THE PENDRAGON BANNER, possibly may have elements of a traditional mystery. There is a murder trial and the bulk of the story is about the search for a holy relic which gives the book its title.

    I have not read any of these writers’ work. Just doing some research for you.


    • Thanks for the tip, John. The Beaufort books are pretty hard to find, even on Abebooks, but I’ll keep an eye out for them, although I think I’ll pass on the second one. Thanks for the help.


  2. I’m afraid that this time period is one I’m largely ignorant about. When you eventually move further into history, though, John Dickson Carr has done several excellent historical novels. My four very favourites are THE DEVIL IN VELVET, THE BRIDE OF NEWGATE, FEAR IS THE SAME, and THE MURDER OF SIR EDMUND GODFREY (the last being an accurate reconstruction of a historical murder as though it were a detective novel, complete with all the clues and an unexpected twist).


  3. This response was part of a comment I originally stuck in the end to “Original Sins” post. Sorry to repeat.

    You might find the Fool’s Guild series by Alan Gordon interesting, especially “Thirteenth Night,” which opens the series and tells us what happened after Shakespeare’s play, “Twelfth Night.” There is an occasional lapse of the modern mind/historical era sort that bothered you with the Romans, but, overall, I found the story and characters overcame my occasional grinding of teeth. The setting is the early 13th century.


  4. I’ve not read these but you might be interested in the Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery series by Pat McIntosh,set in Scotland in the 1480’s.


  5. I just remembered about The Burren series by Cora Harrison which has a leading character similar to Sister Fidelma. I’ve only read one, and it was OK – it is set in the remote Burren area in the Sixteenth century.wrong era but maybe some other time. The audio books of Sister Fidelma are excellent,I listened to them on the way to work.
    Have you come across The Cat Who …. series (Jim Qwilleran Feline Whodunnits) by Lilian Jackson Braun. I listened to the audio books,the reader is very good. I’m not sure I would read them. They are sort of Cosy I think.


    • Again, sixteenth century is a while off for my current plans, but it’s gone on the list. Thanks.

      As for The Cat Who…, that’s the first vaguely positive thing I’ve ever heard about them. Definitely not on the list, but you never know…


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