Exeter, 1195. When a prominent burgess and guild-master falls dead across his horse, Crowner John declines to hold an inquest as the man had been complaining of chest pains and shows no signs of injury. Events take a sinister turn, however, when a straw-dolly is discovered hidden under the man's saddle, a spike driven through its heart. Enlisting the help of her cousin, a cathedral canon with an eye to ecclesiastical advancement, the victim's strident widow begins a campaign in the name of the Church against witchcraft and the so-called 'cunning women' who practise it. This escalates until Exeter is divided into two camps and a climate of fear predominates. Still the coroner refuses to get involved - until his beloved mistress is accused of witchcraft. Can Crowner John unearth the real culprit and save Nesta from the hangman's noose?
Professor Bernard Knight, CBE, became a Home Office Pathologist in 1965 and was appointed Professor of Forensic Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, in 1980. During his 40-year career with the Home Office, he performed over 25,000 autopsies, and was involved in many high profile cases, including that of Fred and Rose West, and the child killer, Mary Bell. The author of numerous popular and academic non-fiction books, he has written thirteen novels in the Crowner John mystery series. Professor Knight lives in Cardiff.
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