Book Review: The Alehouse Murders
Like I said back in December, The Alehouse Murders by Maureen Ash is a book that I just happened to pick up while I was browsing at a bookstore. Apart from the interesting cover design, the fact that the book is labeled “A Templar Knight Mystery” piqued my interest. I’ve always found the Knights Templar to be interesting, and I honestly never delved in the Mystery genre of literature. So I decided to add it to the pile of books I was purchasing that day, and I just finished reading it over the weekend in lieu of me cramming my thesis, no less.
Bascot de Marins, a Templar knight, was sent to Lincoln Castle to recuperate after being imprisoned and tortured by Saracens in the Holy Land for eight years. His imprisonment severely damaged his faith and left him with a blinded eye and a lame leg. And as if recovering his health and restoring his faith isn’t enough of a challenge, he winds up being assigned to investigate the deaths of four individuals at a local alehouse. As Bascot’s investigation goes underway, the plot thickens as he unravels the lies and schemes that concealed the true perpetrator and his/her motives for committing the murders.
While reading the book, I found myself to be more attracted to the main characters and the setting rather than the book’s plot.
Bascot is interesting in that he has a complex personality. He tries to remain as devoted to his vows as a Templar as he was in years past, but the trauma of being held captive for eight years have obviously shaken his beliefs to the core. His constant companion is Gianni, a mute Italian boy whom he found malnourished and wandering around in the streets. Gianni is completely devoted to Bascot, and together they make for an effective detective-and-sidekick duo. Gianni’s curiosity and youth make him endearing to me, and I find it cute that both he and Bascot like to chew on candi.
With regard to setting, I think that Maureen Ash managed to paint a portrait of medieval life that draws her readers into it. She takes the time to describe Bascot’s surroundings and experiences in Lincoln while not overdoing it to the point of boring readers to sleep.
Though The Alehouse Murders falls under a genre of literature that I’m normally not interested in, I enjoyed reading it. The murders and Bascot’s investigations got me to thinking of my own theories regarding the murders, and Bascot himself certainly got my attention for being a well-rounded character.
El Santos is a marketing & advertising professional by day and gamer/bookworm/tarot reader by night. She’s prone to sudden fits of fangirling over her varied interests: video games, fiction, art, folkore, anime, and tarot. She currently lives with her husband and 2 rescue cats.