A devilish miasma of murder and heresy lurks in the winter streets of medieval London - someone is slaying women of the night. For Seb Foxley and his brother, Jude, evil and the threat of death come close to home when Gabriel, their well-liked journeyman, is arrested as a heretic and condemned to be burned at the stake.
Amid a tangle of betrayal and deception, Seb tries to uncover the murderer before more women die – will he also defy the church and devise a plan to save Gabriel?
These are dangerous times for the young artist and those he holds dear. Treachery is everywhere, even at his own fireside…
The Colour of Cold Blood is Toni Mount’s third addition to the Sebastian Foxley Medieval Murder Mystery series. The titular character is back in this tale, and his sensitive, artistic character draws the reader in. The novel begins with a chilling prologue that sets the tone of the mystery.
Mount’s strength lies in her exposition. The language she uses is lyrical, poetic, and vivid:
“The late autumn grass, frost-rimed, crunched beneath his feet as he trudged towards his favoured spot beneath an oak tree, beside the Horse Pool.”
“The mist was a wet sheep’s fleece, compact and grey, draped from eaves and gables, enfolding London in its cold embrace.”
“According to the bell at St Michael’s, it was time for Low Mass but the watchful darkness had only reluctantly given way to a dreary daylight that painted the stone wall of the yard a sullen shade of grey.”
Mount transports the reader to medieval England, and her extensive knowledge of the geography, medicine, and lore of fifteenth century London is apparent. Seb’s profession as a scrivener is fantastically detailed, from the description of the pigments he orders from Venice to the shaping of a quill to whitening parchment with chalk. The complexities of marriage, friendship, and brotherhood are explored throughout the story, and some intriguing religious history is woven into the plot.
Multi-layered and beautifully written, The Colour of Cold Blood is an eloquent tale that brings the Middle Ages to stunning life on the page.
Highly recommended for fans of medieval fiction and murder mysteries