Edith Pargeter was a wonderful writer. Her works are full of delicious plots with twists and turns, great characters and marvelous descriptive passages. She wrote riveting historical fictions but is probably best known for her mystery stories written under the pseudonym, Ellis Peters.
Now I’m not a fan of lengthy descriptive passages. As much as I love the stories of Charles Dickens, I’m afraid I’m guilty of skimming over many of those same descriptive passages in order to get on with the action. However, I read every word in the Ellis Peters mystery novels whether they be her extremely popular Brother Cadfael medieval mysteries (I own all of them) or her more modern mysteries featuring Chief Inspector George Felse.
I spent Sunday afternoon with my father sitting outside the library in his seniors’ residence and decided to find a book to read since Dad was dozing more than he was talking. (He’ll be 100 years old on Thursday, so he’s allowed.) Well the library had a good portion of a shelf dedicated to Ellis Peters and one in particular intrigued me: Knocker on Death’s Door. I knew I hadn’t read it before and that it would be a quick read. All of her books are a quick read. Mostly you just can’t put them down until you find out who did it! and this one kept me guessing right up till the end. Not only did I have the wrong murderer but the one I thought did it turned out to be a pretty stand-up guy despite all the red herrings throughout the book. I’m usually pretty good at spotting the bad guy but Ellis Peters really knew how to spin a yarn.
Peters had a real affinity for medieval times and even her modern mysteries are scattered with clues that date back in time and require people with medieval expertise to help solve the crimes. This particular book is no exception. The first murdered man is snooping for a news scoop because he realizes the knocker (a rather evil looking affair) doesn’t belong on the ancient door. A legend (that no-one can prove or disprove) tells of debauched monks right before the dissolution of the church by Henry VIII, one of whom had made a pact with the devil. He tried to renege on his deal but all the church doors barred him from entry and he died clutching the knocker!!! The news photographer dies in the same position!!! Eerie or what!! Coincidence or not? Second victim to be found in the same position is a ghost whisperer/phenomenon seeker left alive only because the killer has been interrupted. Speculation and rumors run rampant through this small village in the English Midlands. There is some love interest, of course, another body, another death, a bullet hole hidden behind the knocker, and . . . I better not tell you any more or it will spoil it for you. If you haven’t read any works by this author and you love a mystery, check it out. You’ll be delighted!