Book Commentary/Review – Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson June 16, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in historical fiction, Jeri Westerson, mystery, Uncategorized.
Tags: historical fiction, Jeri Westerson, medieval history, mystery, Veil of Lies
Veil of Lies, written by Jeri Westerson, is a clever, engaging combination of mystery and history, set far enough in the past to deliver readers to an exotic location, while replete with the suspense-filled twists and turns we would expect from a mystery set during the 21st Century. Crispin Guest, “the Tracker,” is a disgraced knight, stripped of this title after taking the wrong side of the conflict over Richard II of England’s accession to the throne. He plainly retains a moral connection to the chivalric code of knights. He also retains the attitudes of his class, though he no longer has the privileges and resources that go with the attitude. These elements of his character create a constant internal tension for him, coloring his approach to the world around him and his relationships, making him a deep, sometimes troubled, and therefore constantly intriguing character to follow through the entire Crispin Guest series.
Veil of Lies starts with murder and adultery, with “the Tracker” hired as sort of a 14th Century private detective by the beautiful widow of the murder victim (also the main suspect through much of the book). But like any good mystery, the truth is not at all what it seems to be at first. Westerson drips out the solution with an eyedropper, offering readers tantalizing little bits at a time. Every chapter concludes with some form of cliff-hanger, with “the Tracker” teetering on the precipice of destruction more than once. Two huge plot twists slam readers before all is resolved at the end. But all is not necessarily tied up in a nice neat little happy-ending bow. What we want for Crispin Guest, and what his character will allow for himself, are two different things. Westerson is uncompromising as she stays true to the character she has created.
Veil of Lies is the first of a series—Westerson is now up to three, with a fourth on the way. The craft demonstrated by Westerson, showing both a command of the history of the period, and a command of the mystery, story-telling genre, guarantees future books in the series will provide wonderful entertainment, with a seamless blend of history and mystery for story after story.