Michael Jecks's medieval West Country mysteries, listed in order of publication, including both his own Templar series and the collaborative novels written with fellow members of The Medieval Murderers. Click on the title for more details.
Titles marked with are also available in an audio edition; click the icon for more details.
See also the list of short stories by Michael Jecks.
The Templar Series
- THE LAST TEMPLAR
- When a spate of burnings occur in a quiet Devon village, Bailiff Simon Puttock is grateful for the help of the astute yet strangely reticent Sir Baldwin, who has recently come to live nearby. Are the deaths linked, and will the murderer strike again? (First published March, 1995; reissued June 2013)
- THE MERCHANT'S PARTNER
- The midwife and healer Agatha Kyteler has only ever helped the locals, but to some superstitious folk her skills seem like witchcraft. Sir Baldwin and his friend Simon must forge a path through the suspicion, jealousy and disloyalty of the little village to find her murderer. (First published November, 1995; reissued June 2013)
- A MOORLAND HANGING
- A runaway serf can expect death if his lord catches him, but Peter Bruther can claim the protection of the King when he runs to Dartmoor, so his death is murder. But with the tinminers' protection racket, Sir William Beauscyr's feuding sons, and the strange northern knight, there are too many suspects. (First published May 1996; reissued June 2013)
- THE CREDITON KILLINGS
- The arrival of a brutal band of mercenaries is fearful enough for the small town of Crediton, but when a servant girl is found murdered and the mercenary captain's treasure is stolen, Simon and Baldwin find that the Crediton Killings have only just begun. (June, 1997)
- THE ABBOT'S GIBBET
- Tavistock's fair should be a time of enjoyment, but a decapitated corpse ends that. Simon and Baldwin cannot even tell who the victim was, yet they know that beneath the activity of the bustling fair, anger and violence lie ready to burst out. (April 1998)
- THE LEPER'S RETURN
- Civil war looms and a goldsmith is murdered in his own hall. Baldwin and Simon must seek the murderer quickly, before the wild rumours make the angry townspeople take their revenge on the lepers in the local hospital, causing wholesale slaughter. (November, 1998)
- SQUIRE THROWLEIGH'S HEIR
- After Squire Roger dies, falling from his horse, his five year old son inherits. When he too dies, Baldwin is convinced that it was no accident, but so many had motives to kill poor young Herbert. Little do Baldwin and Simon realise how shocking and sinister this investigation will prove. (June 1999)
- BELLADONNA AT BELSTONE
- It is hard to run a convent, but Lady Elizabeth, Prioress of Belstone, must fight devastating competition for her very position. And then young Moll is murdered, and she must call for the help. Baldwin and Simon find that primitive passions and secret ambitions are prevalent even in a house of God. (December, 1999)
- THE TRAITOR OF ST GILES
- A warrior lies dead, one of his hounds dead at his side, and nearby is the body of a convicted felon. Could the felon have killed a trained knight and his dog? And if he did, where is the knight's horse and his money? And then Baldwin and Simon learn that the dead knight was ambassador to the king's hated friends, a man with many enemies. (May 2000)
- THE BOY-BISHOP'S GLOVEMAKER
- When Ralph, a noted philanthropist, is found dead, Exeter's people are baffled, but then a youth is poisoned in the Cathedral and the mystery deepens. Was it suicide, or was he killed by outlaws in revenge for the hanging of their comrade? Hidden by the Christmas celebrations, there is a ruthless murderer who will soon strike again. (December 2000)
- THE TOURNAMENT OF BLOOD
- A tournament should be a time of pageant and pleasure, and yet before it can begin the man financing it is found beaten to death. Soon, even as the tournament gets under way, more men are found dead, and Baldwin and Simon must catch the murderer before he can kill again. (June 2001)
- THE STICKLEPATH STRANGLER
- The joy of an innocent afternoon's play is shattered when two girls find a skull. Baldwin and Simon join the Coroner and learn that there have been several murders over the last seven years, but were they committed by a man - or is there a supernatural explanation? (November, 2001)
- THE DEVIL'S ACOLYTE
- In the autumn of 1322, history is about to repeat itself, or so it seems. A man has been found dead on the moors, and wine has been stolen from the Abbot's private stores. It is reminiscent of the legend of Milbrosa and the murders of the Abbot's way .... but does the Devil really provide the key to Tavistock's present fears? (June, 2002)
- THE MAD MONK OF GIDLEIGH
- When Mary is killed, the priest's sin seems all too clear, yet Mary was not the simple miller's daughter many thought. Many are devastated by her death, including Sir Ralph of Gidleigh himself, and when the truth about her murder emerges, life for the folk of Gidleigh won't be the same. (December, 2002)
- THE TEMPLAR'S PENANCE
- After the shocks of the Mad Monk of Gidleigh, Baldwin and Simon have decided to make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, but even here they find that murder is not far away. A group of pilgrims is attacked by outlaws, then a young girl is found murdered near Santiago, and the local pesquisidore soon asks Simon and Baldwin to help try to find the killer. (June, 2003)
- THE OUTLAWS OF ENNOR
- Returning with relief from their pilgrimage, Simon and Baldwin are thrown from their course by pirates and foul weather. Simon is horrified to wake to recall that his friend was thrown from their ship as they neared the strange islands of Ennor. There Simon is asked to help seek the murderer of the hated local tax-collector, but his searches are hampered by knowledge of the hatred between the community on Ennor and their neighbours on St Nicholas. (January, 2004)
- THE TOLLS OF DEATH
- At last Simon and Baldwin are once more on the mainland, and their journey home should be shorter, but as they pass Cardinham, they learn that there has been murder in the little Cornish vill: Athelina and her two sons are dead. Baldwin and Simon soon realise that these deaths are not isolated, and want to help find the killer, but when the country is about to become embroiled in civil war, how can they hope to serve justice? (May, 2004)
- THE CHAPEL OF BONES
- Forty years ago, Exeter Cathedral close rang to the clamour of weapons, shouts of defiance and screams of pain. Afterwards, the bodies lying in their own blood bore silent witness to the conflicts that were tearing at the heart of the Cathedral itself. Today, in 1323, more deaths have occurred. Is the first an accident? The second is surely murder, brutal and foul. (December 2004)
A gem of historical storytelling... authentic recreation of the modes and manners, superstitions and primitive fears that made up the colourful but brutal tableau of the Middle Ages
His research is painstaking down to the smallest detail, his characters leap alive from the page, and his evocation of setting is impressive
- THE BUTCHER OF ST. PETER'S
- A strange man is entering people's houses at night, causing panic amongst householders, because this is a man who likes children. And although many had thought him harmless, now he seems to have committed murder. A man lies dead in his own home, slaughtered merely for trying to protect his children, and the folk of Exeter want this menace caught and hanged. (May 2005)
- A FRIAR'S BLOODFEUD
- Bloodshed and mayhem reach almost into Simon Puttock's own household: Simon's servant, Hugh, has been granted leave to look after his wife Constance and help raise her child. One day she is attacked and raped by a gang of men at her home. She sees her son being murdered and then her man Hugh is struck down, before she is killed and the house set on fire.
- THE DEATH SHIP OF DARTMOUTH
- In Dartmouth, a man is found lying dead in the road. But the inhabitants of this little haven dismiss his death as a drunken accident, their attention turned to more worrying matters - piracy. A ship, the St John, has been discovered, half ravaged and the crew missing, in an attack that bears all the hallmarks of the supposedly disbanded Lyme Pirates. Could this be the beginning of a vicious onslaught, or is something even more sinister happening?
Shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.
- THE MALICE OF UNNATURAL DEATH
- Roger Mortimer - the King's most hated enemy - has escaped from the Tower, and the King's life is threatened. Baldwin and Simon know the dangers of becoming embroiled in politics, in these bloodthirsty times. But when two bodies are found in the city's streets, the Bishop calls upon them to find out who was responsible. And one of the dead men was a messenger, carrying a dangerous secret...
- DISPENSATION OF DEATH
- The first of a short mini-series in which Baldwin and Simon are thrust into first national politics, and then international. They are taken to London with the Bishop of Exeter as part of his coterie of advisers and guards. There, they learn that there has been murder committed within the palace of Westminster itself. The King demands that they help find the murderer.
- THE TEMPLAR, THE QUEEN AND HER LOVER
- Isabella, Queen of England, has been dispatched to France in an attempt to bring about peace between the two countries, and Baldwin must accompany her. But the day after their arrival, a servant is found murdered, with Baldwin's dagger lying next to the body. As Baldwin struggles to prove his innocence, the killer strikes again. With so many English enemies gathering in Paris, will Baldwin be able to expose the culprit in time to protect the English King?
- THE PROPHECY OF DEATH
- Baldwin and Simon return from France, but cannot extricate themselves from affairs of state: they have an urgent message for the King. Once more they find themselves at the centre of a deadly court intrigue involving the most powerful and ruthless men in the country. Has Baldwin won the enmity of the most dangerous man in England?
- KING OF THIEVES
- In their most dangerous mission yet, Baldwin and Simon must uncover a deadly assassination plot that will change the course of English history.It's 1325, and Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace and his friend Bailiff Simon Puttock are in France to join Prince Edward and Bishop Walter's entourage as they make their journey to the palace of the French king, Charles IV. The Prince must make a demeaning submission in order for the English to keep hold of their French territories. Meanwhile, Queen Isabella has been causing a scandal in the French courts with English traitor Roger Mortimer. The Prince's entourage are delivered into the Queen's custody, but it becomes clear that they have enemies within the palace walls. Simon and Baldwin soon discover a murderous plot that threatens England's future...
- NO LAW IN THE LAND
- At last, Baldwin and Simon return to Devon - but is this good news? When they inform King Edward II that his estranged wife, Queen Isabella, is set on defying him, the King flies into a rage and Baldwin and Simon are told that they are no longer in his favour. Back in Devon, they discover that outlaws now hold sway in the land. Sir Robert, a knight from the King's household, has turned outlaw from his castle near Crediton. When a pair of clerics are found brutally murdered, Baldwin and Simon are asked to investigate.
- THE BISHOP MUST DIE
- 1326. In France, King Edward II's estranged wife Queen Isabella shames him by refusing to return to England, and humiliates him further by flaunting her adulterous relationship with the king's sworn enemy, traitor Sir Roger Mortimer. When the king hears she has betrothed their son to the daughter of the Count of Hainault, all England fears an invasion of Hainault mercenaries. Meanwhile the Treasurer of England's life is threatened. He has made many enemies in a long political life and Sir Baldwin and Simon must do all they can to find the would-be assassin before he can strike...
- THE OATH
- 1326. In an England riven with conflict, knight and peasant alike find their lives turned upside down by the warring factions. Yet even in such times, the brutal slaughter of an entire family, right down to a babe in arms, still has the power to shock. Three further murders follow, and bailiff Simon Puttock is drawn into a web of intrigue, vengeance, power and greed as Roger Mortimer charges him to investigate the killings.
- KING'S GOLD
- As the year 1326 draws to a close, London is in flames. King Edward II is a prisoner - and his guards are Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and bailiff Simon Puttock. Their loyalties are torn, and soon they find themselves entangled in a tightening net of conspiracy, greed, betrayal and murder.
- CITY OF FIENDS
- It's 1327 and England is in turmoil. The deposed king has escaped from captivity - and when Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and bailiff Simon Puttock ride to Exeter to admit their failure, they are greeted by bloody murder within the walls of the town.
- TEMPLAR'S ACRE
- Look back to the Holy Land in 1291. The Crusaders still cling to one last city: Acre. What has brought Baldwin de Furnshill, a young boy, green and scared, to this desperate battle?
The Hundred Years War
- FIELDS OF GLORY
- The year is 1346 and King Edward III is restless. Despite earlier victories his army has still not achieved a major breakthrough and the French crown remains intact. On the beaches of Normandy, Edward's men are ready to march through France to victory. The Battle of Crecy will be a decisive turning point in the Hundred Years' Wars. This is the story of that battle and the men who won it.
- BLOOD ON THE SAND
- Calais, 1346 - Berenger Fripper and his men are stationed in the ancient port city, a city under English control and surrounded by enemies. But there is also trouble within. Someone in the vintaine is leaking vital information to the French, jeopardizing not only the safety of the men but also the future of the war, and Berenger must find out who before it's too late.
Jecks writes with passion and historical accuracy. Devon and Cornwall do not seem the same after reading his dramatic tales
- THE TAINTED RELIC
- A cursed relic, a piece of the True Cross which was cursed when it was stolen from a church, has passed on through time with disastrous results: the Medieval Murderers collaborate on a series of novellas, telling how their sleuths each in turn encountered the relic. (May 2005)
- SWORD OF SHAME
- From its first arrival in Britain, with the Norman forces of William the Conqueror, violence and revenge are the cursed sword's constant companions. From an election-rigging scandal in 13th century Venice to the battlefield of Poitiers in 1356, as the Sword of Shame passes from owner to owner in this compelling collection of interlinked mysteries, it brings nothing but bad luck and disgrace to all who possess it.
- HOUSE OF SHADOWS
- Rumours of ghosts and dark secrets abound at Bermondsey Priory; when the daughter of one of the hated Despenser's servants is found dead in the surrounding marshlands, Bishop Walter asks Baldwin and Simon to investigate.
- KING ARTHUR'S BONES
- 1191. During excavation work at Glastonbury Abbey, an ancient leaden cross is discovered buried several feet below ground. Inscribed on the cross are the words: Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex arturius - here lies buried the renowned King Arthur. Beneath the cross are skeletal remains. Could these really be the remains of the legendary King Arthur and his queen, Guinevere? As the monks debate the implications of this extraordinary discovery, the bones disappear...
- THE DEADLIEST SIN
- When a group of pilgrims are forced to seek shelter at an inn, their host suggests that the guests should tell their tales. He dares them to tell their stories of sin, so that it might emerge which one is the best. That is, the worst...
"Each page is densely packed with cuckolding, coarseness, lewdness, lechery, gore galore, but also with nobility. A heady mix!"
North Devon Journal
"Jecks' knowledge of medieval history is impressive, and is used here to great effect"