A DEAD MAN'S SECRET is the eighth medieval murder mystery featuring former Crusader-turned-king's-agent Sir Geoffrey Mappestone. In this case, King Henry has ordered Mappestone to deliver a number of letters to various military and religious leaders in far-away Wales. Even before Mappestone, his friend Sir Roger of Durham and a motley crew of companions begin their journey, murder most foul raises its ugly head and the plot only thickens from there.
The journey to Wales proves to be a dangerous undertaking. In short order, Mappestone realizes his companions are a fractious bunch, several of which are eager to learn the contents of the letters he is carrying. One of Mappestone's band is poisoned, his killer unknown. Then, for reasons unclear, bandits began stalking and attacking Mappestone's band. More swordplay and intrigue follow before Mappestone unravels the sordid tale.
A DEAD MAN'S SECRET is the first Sir Geoffrey Mappestone mystery I've read. A PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY review quoted on the cover states that Simon Beaufort's work ranks "in the same league as the best work of...Michael Jecks." I beg to differ. Perhaps I should have read the series' opener, MURDER IN THE HOLY CITY, first but I didn't find the Mappestone character all that compelling in this, his 8th 'adventure.' Secondly, DEAD MAN'S SECRET got off to a slow start, being awfully talky for my tastes. Lastly, Beaufort does an adequate job of recapturing 12th Century England but, in that respect, he's not up to Jecks' standard.
Since this is my first acquitance with Sir Geoffrey Mappestone, I could be all wet. His other adventures have gotten pretty high reviews. If you love medieval murder mysteries, pick up a copy of A DEAD MAN'S SECRET. You may find it's yet another fine Mappestone mystery, thank you very much. I wasn't all that impressed, sorry to say. Your call, folks.