Title: A Plague of Poison (Templar Knight #3)
Author: Maureen Ash
Publication: 2009 by Berkley Prime Crime
When a cake kills a squire, the castle governor enlists the help of Templar Bascot de Marins. But as murder spreads beyond the castle walls, he wonders if it is in fact the work of a lethal master of poisons.
What I Thought About It . . .
I failed to compose a review for the previous book in this mystery series, but perhaps I can make up for my lapse with this one. I felt that Death of a Squire was an improvement upon The Alehouse Murders, and it is also safe to say that A Plague of Poison beats the previous volume. Don’t you love a series that gets better with each book? So often it seems that series have gone down in quality or my interest by this point, but I am happy to say that I will eagerly keep reading Ash’s Templar Knight mysteries with pleasure.
I think it is interesting that Ash has used some real historical figures in her narrative to give some authenticity to her mystery series. Nicolaa de la Haye is a literate and capable woman. If one could attribute Gerard as being a good man, she is that greater woman standing behind him, as the saying tends to go. It is interesting to me that this narrative takes place not during the reign of Richard the Lionheart, but that of his brother John. I confess that I am curious about that particular monarch. I need to read more history books.
Bascot de Marins is a character I think I may have fallen for over the course of these three books. While his body might be maimed and his faith severely tested over the trials he has been forced to endure, his heart has grown in the face of adversity. What’s not to admire about a man who would give up everything he’s fought and suffered for in the name of love? I mean, he’s not my favorite detective in the world of mystery fiction yet it’s definitely safe to say that he’s up there. I guess it doesn’t hurt that I find the Templar Order fascinating. If he wasn’t a chaste warrior monk, I’d have to add him to the list of candidates for my book crushes. I suppose that makes him out of limits, right?
All my assumptions about the true identity of the murderer were wrong. I wonder if that speaks about my lack of deductive skills or the fact that I was just so into reading the book?
One of the things that I liked about this book was the fact that we were given chapters from the murderer’s perspective peppered throughout this volume. I’m an avid reader of abnormal psychology so any content from a killer’s perspective is of interest to me.
I don’t know about other readers, but my first impressions were that the potter’s daughter had been raped from the moment her behavior was described. She seemed like a tragic figure in this narrative. You are left wondering whether or not she will ever heal from her ordeal. Perhaps we might meet her again . . .
The next volume is Murder for Christ’s Mass so it should be interesting what new surprises await our Templar. As luck would have it I have the book checked out from the library so I can dive right into medieval Lincoln again. I want more Bascot de Marins!