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Satan in St Mary’s by Paul Doherty Review

Title: Satan in St Mary’s

Author: Paul Doherty

First published December 1, 1986

186 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780747234920 (ISBN10: 0747234922)

Rating: 3.94


It’s the year 1284 and the reign of King Edward I is plagued by a rebellious movement founded by the late Simon de Montfort. The Pentangle is a secret society known for practicing the black arts and is believed to be behind the death of Lawrence Duket, a loyal subject to the King.

Duket’s murder of one of their own supporters led to his untimely demise, which appears to be a suicide. The King orders his Chancellor, Burnell, to investigate the matter, and he chooses the sharp and clever clerk, Hugh Corbett, to lead the investigation.

Together with his trusty manservant, Ranulf, Corbett delves into the dark and dangerous underworld of medieval London, navigating through the twisted politics of the time to uncover the truth behind Duket’s death.

About the Author

Paul Doherty is a British author who has written under several pen names, including P.C. Doherty, Celia L. Grace, Paul Harding, Ann Dukthas, Vanessa Alexander, Michael Clynes, and Anna Apostolou.

However, he now writes solely under his own name. He was born in Middlesbrough in 1946 and received a typical education before attending Durham University for three years to study for the Catholic priesthood.

However, he ultimately decided not to continue and instead went to Liverpool University, where he earned a First Class Honours Degree in History. He won a state scholarship to attend Exeter College, Oxford, where he met his wife, Carla Lynn Corbitt.

While continuing his studies, he realized academia was not for him and became a secondary school teacher.

Paul taught in several locations, including Ascot, Nottingham, and Crawley West Sussex, before being appointed Headmaster of Trinity Catholic School in September 1981. Trinity is a large comprehensive school with 1,700 students aged 11-18 and has been recognized as one of the top comprehensives in the UK.

In April 2000, H.M. Inspectorate described it as an “Outstanding School,” and it was given Beacon status as a Centre of Excellence. In the Chief Inspector’s report to the Secretary of State for January 2001, Trinity Catholic High School was singled out for praise and received a public accolade.

In addition to his career in education, Paul is also a successful novelist. He completed his doctorate on the reign of Edward II of England and, in 1987, began publishing a series of historical mysteries set in various time periods and locations, such as the Middle Ages, Classical Greece, Ancient Egypt, and more.

His books have been published in many countries, including the US, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Romania, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Bulgaria, Portugal, and China, as well as Argentina and Mexico.

Paul has written several non-fiction titles, including a biography of Isabella the She-Wolf of France, the wife of Edward II of England, a study of the possible murder of Tutankhamun, the boy Pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, and a study on the true fate of Alexander the Great. He recently launched a successful series based on the life of Alexander the Great, published by Constable & Robinson in the UK and Carroll and Graf in the US, while his novels set in Ancient Egypt have won critical acclaim.

Paul and Carla live on the border of London and Essex, near Epping Forest, and six of their children have attended his school. Carla currently owns two horses and is training a beautiful Arab filly named Polly for showing and dressage.

Paul is a popular speaker and lecturer, particularly on historical mysteries, many of which later feature in his writings. He is a trained lecturer and a natural speaker who can entertain any audience.

Paul’s ultimate goal is to petition the Privy Council of England to open the Purbeck marble tomb of Edward II in Gloucester Cathedral. He believes that the tomb does not contain the king’s body.

Editoral Review

Satan in St Mary’s by Paul Doherty is a gripping historical mystery novel set in 15th century London. Doherty, a prolific author of historical fiction, has crafted a thrilling and atmospheric tale that transports readers to a bygone era.

With its intricate plot, vivid descriptions, and richly drawn characters, Satan in St Mary’s is a must-read for fans of the genre.

The novel follows the exploits of Hugh Corbett, a clerk to the King’s Bench, who is tasked with investigating a series of murders that have taken place in the shadow of St Mary’s church. The victims have all been found with strange symbols carved into their flesh, leading many to believe that the devil himself is responsible.

As Corbett delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of deceit and corruption that threatens to upend the entire city.

Doherty’s attention to detail is impressive, and he brings 15th century London to life with his descriptions of the bustling streets, the murky alleyways, and the imposing landmarks. The city itself becomes a character in the novel, with its seedy underbelly and its glittering courtly circles.

The characters are equally well-drawn, with Corbett emerging as a complex and sympathetic figure, and his supporting cast providing a colorful array of suspects and allies.

The pacing of Satan in St Mary’s is spot-on, with the tension building steadily throughout the novel. Doherty’s prose is elegant and evocative, and he deftly weaves in historical details without bogging down the narrative.

The themes of power, religion, and morality are explored with nuance and sensitivity, and the novel raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of evil and the limits of justice.

While there are some minor flaws in Satan in St Mary’s – the ending feels a bit rushed, and some of the secondary characters could have been fleshed out more – these are minor quibbles in an otherwise excellent novel. Doherty is a master storyteller, and he has crafted a historical mystery that is both thrilling and thought-provoking.

Overall, Satan in St Mary’s is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and mystery novels. With its richly drawn characters, intricate plot, and evocative setting, it is a novel that will transport readers back in time and keep them on the edge of their seats.

Highly recommended.