The second volume in the acclaimed Geoffrey Chaucer murder mystery series. Release Date: February 2003
Poet Geoffrey Chaucer is always up for a challenge, and when Sir William Taggart, who has just inherited the earldom of Sussex, approaches him with a problem, Chaucer is all ears. Someone has been embezzling nearly every penny of income from one of the Sussex estates – and Sir William believes that Chaucer is the right man to discover exactly who and why. But when the suspected embezzler turns up murdered, everyone is shocked – and doubly puzzled. And it seems as if the situation is far more complex - and dangerous – than anyone had even dreamed.
Meanwhile, back in Chaucer’s own community of Aldgate Village, a mysterious villain is assaulting women who dare to walk the streets alone at night. When the attacker finally commits murder, Chaucer’s friends and neighbors realize that something must be done. But can Chaucer spare the time from his investigations in Sussex? He must – or those he loves best could well go the way of the other victims.
The body of Horace Gibbon lay twisted into a grotesque angle, on the bare earth under an ancient oak tree, near a narrow path through a dense section of forest. His body was already dotted with bird droppings and fallen acorns. The eyes were half opened and the mouth was twisted into a death grimace; the left side of his head was totally caved in. Clotted blood and brain material had seeped through the cracks and holes, matting the graying black hair and spilling onto the tree roots. Chaucer bent over him, studying the little details that the boys might have missed. What a dreadful end for a human being to meet, he reflected. Yes, Gibbon was a scoundrel. But no one deserves this.
Against his will, Chaucer felt his lips beginning to tremble, a lump forming in his throat and his eyes suddenly filling with tears. He had never known Horace Gibbon, and what he did know of him certainly didn’t speak well of the man. But he had still been a human being, a child of God. Yet an unknown stranger with selfish if not evil intent had seen fit to reduce him to a lifeless pile of carrion. Chaucer turned his face away from the others as the tears began to flow down his cheeks. Who would grieve for Horace Gibbon? Who was there who cared enough to light a candle for his soul, or remember him in their prayers? Probably no one. All human beings die, the poet told himself. But leaving no one behind who cares! That is the real tragedy. Geoffrey shook his head and set about to complete the immediate task at hand.