this is a good one!! What will happen next?
Another good Margaret Frazier story
The third book in Frazer's series featuring Joliffe the Player and the other members of a 15th century traveling troupe. I like this series even more than the Frazer's highly successful Dame Frevisse series, and that is saying a lot.
I had read this last year, out of order (it's the 3rd book in the series), and remember that it did not make a big impact on me. Then this month I read the first 2 books, and re-read this just to keep the sequence of events straight. And I discovered that my perspective on it had changed - it's much easier to appreciate the smaller nuances of the characters when you know what took them to this point. Joliffe and his troupe are asked to go to Ashewell village to stage plays and undercover see if they can find out what drives the rivalry among the 3 wealthiest families in town - the Ashewells, the Medcotes and Gosyns. They discover hints of blackmail and deception, and just before they are to leave the Medcote patriarch, who was hated by everyone, is murdered. With no lack of suspects Joliffe is hard-pressed to find evidence on the killer, and then he strikes again, this time at the Gosyns.
Frazer's marvelous characterizations and rich background in 15th century England, particularly of traveling players of the time, make a fascinating backdrop for a twisted tale of murder that is resolved most satisfactorily in the end. When I first read this book last year I thought it paled in comparison to her excellent Sister Frevisse series, but now that I've placed it in proper perspective I find I enjoy this series just as much as the other.
I like the way Margaret Frazer gradually reveals little tidbits of information about her main characters, and this book we learn more about Joliffe and his background, but also realize that there is more about his early youth that he's not telling--and we want to know. I'm a great fan of Frazer's--I really like how she brings the 1430's England to life in vivid colors. Her characters and their emotions are realistic, and her writing draws you into the period so that you feel as if you were there, too. I'm very glad she's continuing to add more books to the Joliffe series!