Book Review: A Taste for Killing

Sarah Hawkswood ~ A Taste for Killing

Synopsis

Godfrey Bowyer, the best but least likeable bow maker in Worcester, dies of poisoning, though his wife Blanche survives. The number of people who could have administered the poison should mean a very short investigation for Bradecote and Catchpoll, but perhaps someone was pulling the strings, which widens the net considerably.

Could it be the cast-out younger brother or perhaps Orderic the Bailiff, whose wife has been pressured into a relationship with Godfrey? Could it even be the wife herself? With Bradecote eager to return to his manor and worried about his wife’s impending confinement, and Walkelin trying to get his mother to accept his choice of bride, there are distractions aplenty, though Serjeant Catchpoll will not let them get in the way of solving this case.

Review

Crime is one of my favourite genres, but as technology becomes more advanced, it seems more and more difficult for criminals to hide for long. So a medieval murder mystery sounded super intriguing, with no DNA or tracking devices to help our dynamic duo.

The concept is a good one and you don’t need to read the previous books in the series to follow the story. Unfortunately it’s not executed well.

The book is far too long and gets quite repetitive, as we go over and over the event multiple times. I appreciate that this was one of the only ways to gather information in murder cases in those days, but it is quite boring, especially as it’s fairly obvious who the murderer is. The pace – while perhaps in keeping with the period in which it’s set – is very slow and overall quite a tedious read.

On the surface characters seem interesting but aren’t engaging, which affects the overall enjoyment of the book. It’s also surprising that the cook is female, which – as I understand it – is rare for medieval kitchens in large households and it took me a while to realise who was who!

While I may read the first in the series, as I am very interested in this period of history, I won’t be rushing to do so.

Thank you to Allison & Busby for my copy. Opinions my own.

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