Review: The Alehouse Murders

Title: The Alehouse Murders (Templar Knight #1)
Author: Maureen Ash
Publication: 2007 by Berkley Prime Crime Books
Format: Paperback

Book Synopsis

After years of captivity in the Holy Land, Templar Bascot de Marins escapes with injuries to his body and soul. Now on sojourn at Lincoln Castle, he hopes to regain his strength, and mend his waning faith-but not even the peace of God’s countryside is safe from the mortal crimes of man…

When four victims are found slain in the town alehouse, Bascot discovers that what appears to be the grisly end to a drunken row is in fact a cunning and baffling case of murder. Bascot tracks his quarry from bawdy-house to baron’s keep, once again risking his life for the justice of God’s will.

What I Thought About It . . .

Okay somehow the existence of this series has slipped by my radar over the past few years because if I had known there was a mystery series featuring a Templar as the sleuth, I would have been all over this a long time ago! I only happened by it while searching for other fictional books on Templars and noticed there were over thirty books under a particular subject heading on my local library’s website. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, it just makes her list of books she’d like to read so much longer!

I love the setting of this novel. I confess that thanks to the film Kingdom of Heaven I have a certain fondness for the Crusades so books around that time period are automatically appealing to me on some level. This takes place in England during the year 1200. The author’s style is detailed without being overwhelming. This makes it a very readable story. I spent an evening wishing to read more of the narrative, but I was just so tired and it wasn’t fair that I couldn’t know what happened next!

Bascot de Marins is needless to say a protagonist that I want to read about in more books. First of all he is a Templar Knight and to me that’s pretty cool. He’s a man who experienced a trying ordeal while on Crusade when captured by Saracens. However, during his captivity he grew to know other people and see past the prejudices of his day. It also gave him the skills of observation that serve him well in his current occupation as investigator. Yet I feel that I must confess my weakness for physically maimed characters, which most certainly fits the Templar. He cares for a mute waif he encountered on his journey from the Holy Land so we see his kind and caring heart too. I have enjoyed my experience with this character and I want to know whether his dilemma with faith is resolved and he returns to the Order or he leaves it for good.

The book mainly focuses on the exploits of Bascot, but since it is told in a third-person narrative we receive more than just his perspective on matters. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like it that way. A few chapters and passages will show us the happenings dealing with minor characters, but these chapters do not dwell on these characters for any great length of time, which leave those chapters somewhat shorter than the rest in the book. Some characters I find interesting and would like to hear more about them, such as Lady Nicolaa.

This is just the type of mystery that I’ve been wishing to read! It is set in an interesting time period, has a unique detective, and can be labeled as a cozy mystery. So this is right up my alley of interest. I can say with a great measure of certainty that I wish to continue reading this series. The second installment is currently in transit to my local library and I have placed a request for the remainder of the series. The only wait time I shall experience will be with the last one as there is a short queue. And there will be a new novel released this November! I wasn’t entirely sure about this novel when I first started it, but I am glad that I gave it a chance. It was a pleasant way to spend the past couple of evenings.



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