Soldier Ralph Delchard and lawyer Gervase Bret arrive in Hereford for what looks like one of their more straightforward assignments from the crown, to settle conflicting claims to land in Archenfield. When they begin investigating, they find themselves in a place unlike any other they have ever encountered, for Hereford is the home of a Marcher lord, and such men obey no law but their own. They are shocked to discover the murder of a principal witness, a wealthly landowner who was buried alive in his own home. No clues remain except an enigmatic red dragon, cut into the turf in front of the house. Documents essential to settling the land claim, including the landowner's will, are thought to have been destroyed in the blaze.
1086, William the Conqueror sends out his agents to correct possible errors in the original Domesday census. Ralph Delchard and his lawyer partner/friend arrive at the Welch/English border to solve the mystery of a parcel of land disputed by three claimants. By the time they arrive, one of the three has been brutally murdered, and the other two are immediate suspects. Nice handling of plot, character development and setting. I prefer this Domesday series to Marston's Elizabethan mysteries.