#Crispin Guest Series
In this latest installment of Westerson’s Crispin Guest medieval noir series, the timeline skips ahead about a year from the previous novel, Season of Blood. The Deepest Grave opens (haha, see what I did there?) with one Father Bulthius coming to Crispin, seeking answers to the mystery of revenants - corpses rising from the grave and walking at night - in the small church of St. Modwen. Naturally, Crispin is skeptical but he takes the case. While he is out, a person from his past comes calling for aid. Philippa Walcote, Crispin’s former lover, comes begging for help, for her young son stands accused of murdering a neighboring fabric merchant and competitor to his father’s business. Crispin is reluctant to become entrenched with Philippa again in any way, but as his apprentice Jack Tucker reminds him, a client is a client, and the Walcotes are wealthy clients indeed.
Crispin and Jack embark on a quest to solve the case of wandering corpses, save a child from the hangman’s noose, and figure out why the relic of St. Modwen herself keeps following Crispin around, to his supreme consternation.
This was probably my second favorite novel in the Crispin Guest series. My favorite remains Blood Lance. But this novel is full of fast-paced narration and interesting character developments. One development in particular was especially nice, though there is absolutely no way to mention it without major spoilers. But it is bittersweet and lovely and I loved that it happened. It shows Crispin really growing and changing as a man. Jack is now a grown man, too, though still very young and inexperienced. He is married to his sweetheart Isabel, whom readers know as the niece of Eleanor and Gilbert of the Boar’s Tusk ale house, and they are about to become parents. For readers such as myself who have been with Crispin and Jack since the beginning of the series, that’s a real bit of cognitive dissonance right there, because isn’t Jack still just ten years old? He can’t possibly be old enough to be a father yet! But it is wonderful to see him growing into a fine young man with a great deal of potential and so aptly learning a vocation that will sustain him and his family.
I loved the recurring theme of family throughout this novel. The characters in this series are as real to me as actual people I know in my own life, and I feel for them, and I sorrow with them, and rejoice with them, and I am always delighted when we get a new story about them.
© Kristen McQuinn.
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