The stunning second novel of murder and mayhem in the acclaimed Hugh Corbett series
Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.
When Hugh Corbett, legal adviser and clerk to the Chancellor of England, is sent to Scotland in the wretchedly cold spring of 1286 to investigate the death of King Alexander III, he is met with hostility, suspicion and murderous rage. Did King Alexander dash off on a furiously stormy night to visit his young French bride and accidentally plunge from a cliff to his death below? Or perhaps his fall was the result of scheming and plotting by ambitious nobles, including the power-hungry Robert Bruce. When the careful and secretive Corbett begins asking pointed questions he is arrested on a trumped-up charge of treason and murder; after his release he is the target of assassination attempts. He begins to make progress in his quest only when he joins forces with Bishop Wishart of Glasgow. Doherty (The Death of a King) brings the harsh medieval landscape of Scotland to vivid life, particularly its gritty and malodorous cities, its wildly beautiful countryside and its population of devout, enigmatic or sinister characters. Yet, a superfluity of historical explanations and far too much laborious speculation on Corbett's part slow the book's pace to a quiet crawl. (June)