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S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife and two spaniels.
A thoroughly entertaining, evocative, and wonderfully written historical mystery set in 1591. Physician and spy Nicholas Shelby joins forces with tavern keeper Bianca Merton in an investigation that could lead the country into civil war. This is the second in the ‘Jackdaw Mysteries’ series, you could start here, however I really do recommend going back to the beginning with ‘The Angel’s Mark’. S. W. Perry sets fiction intermingling with fact, and it is easy to believe that this could have been real. The writing prods and provokes thoughts and feelings, I could step forward into the sleaze and squalor, hear whispered conversations, feel the fragility of life in those times. Nicholas and Bianca are a fascinating duo, each interesting in their own right, together creating a force to be reckoned with. Vividly dramatic and engrossing, ‘The Serpent’s Mark’ ensures that this is a series that promises much and lives up to expectations, I eagerly await the next.
London, 1570. The body of a “male child, malformed in the limbs” is washed-up in the mud of the Thames. While the Queen’s Coroner presumes him to have drowned, Dr Nicholas Shelby deduces that the marks on the boy’s body point to him being murdered but, since the boy is of no importance, no one cares, except for principled Shelby himself. When a second body is found bearing the same markings, he sets about discovering the killer’s identity, and it soon becomes clear that there are more victims besides. An exhilarating cast of characters emerge from the unfolding action, among them Bianca, an enigmatic innkeeper with apothecary skills. And so a richly suspenseful story of risk and betrayal plays out against a backdrop of political instability, paranoia and heresy. Fans of CJ Sansom and SG Maclean will surely be heartily satisfied by this elegant historical mystery.