Series: Oxford Medieval Mysteries #1
Well, that was a disappointing read. Admittedly, I think my reading was tainted by that first editorial snafu on page 18 or so where the main character, Nicholas, sends a written message to a widow that can’t read. Yes, I suppose she could be expected to find someone to read it to her, but wouldn’t it make more sense to send the carter who was supposed to give it to her with a message for her? Or both? There were also some weird things like scriveners actually using candles to do some of their work instead of natural daylight (fear of fire was a big thing around those precious books), a house with a chimney, and the bedding didn’t sound quite right, although I’d have to refresh my memory on what would be expected in 1353 to be sure.
As for the actual tale, the dialogue seemed stiff and wooden, and that stiffness showed up in the characters as well. It wasn’t terrible, but it was enough that it prevented me from really immersing myself in the story, so I found I had to resist rolling my eyes at some of the more melodramatic developments. The mystery plotting was only okay.
One thing that bugged me: Nicholas asked about adopting the dogs everywhere except with the miller that he knew (the one that let him warm up after he was drenched in the rain). There was one dog left; ask him already!
All in all, it was an okay mediaeval mystery but not great, and it needed a better editor.