Cover Image: Spiteful Bones

Spiteful Bones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really wanted to like this books. It sounds dark and exciting. Unfortunately, for me, I just couldn’t get into it, and therefore didn’t finish it. It just couldn’t hold my interest..

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own
Was this review helpful?
First Sentence:  Nigellus Cobmartin stood in the courtyard of his family home – its garden walls crumbling, its arched windows overlooking the tired and weedy garden with its dead flowers and gnarled trees – and sighed.
Crispin Guest's house is filled with his assistant Jack, his wife Isabel, and their many children, as well as the satisfaction of watching grow and providing training for Christopher Walcote, the son he can never acknowledge.  Into that tranquility comes Jack Rykener/Eleanor Cobmartin with an urgent summons.  In restoring the home he inherited, Jack's "husband's" workers uncover a body holding a precious relic. The body had been bound and sealed within a wall for 20 years.  It is up to Crispin to discover the killer while protecting the secret of Jack's true identity.

One can only appreciate when authors, particularly of historical mysteries, provide a section of "Notes About Characters," as well as a "Glossary."  The sections are not only helpful but interesting in themselves.

No one stays the same age forever.  Having characters who age, and whose life circumstances change, adds realism to the story, and much has changed for Westerson's characters.  Readers of the series will appreciate that, but even new readers are given a sense of how time has progressed.

Westerson has a wonderful voice.  Her dialogue is reflective of the period without being mired in it.  She writes with a balance of humor and drama.  It is interesting to see how, even in this period, forensic evidence was taken into account—"But it looks as if someone coshed him good.  Aye, look at the wood of the uprights here.  If he was still awake, there would have been scratches and scuffs from a struggle."  One issue, however, is the frequent use of Latin phrases.  While is it very appropriate to the period, an immediate translation of each phrase, as is often done by other authors, would not have been amiss.  Still, there are lines which make one smile—"Sometimes, Jack, the Church, in all its wisdom, is lacking when it comes to compassion."

The relationships are enjoyable and add dimension yet don't overtake the plot.  They provide richness and emotion.  One becomes attached to the characters. There are times where one might question whether Crispin is too modern; too good, too noble.  Yet, it is part of the development one has seen in the character and is part of what draws one back to the series.

"Spiteful Bones" presents an effective twist and an exciting climax.  Historical mystery devotees will be pleased.

SPITEFUL BONES (Hist Mys-Crispen Guest-London-1398) – G+
Westerson, Jeri – 14th in series
Severn House – Sept 2020
Was this review helpful?
I'm a huge fan of the Tracker and had high expectations about this novel. I wasn't disappointed as Jen Westerson never fails to deliver highly enjoyable and entertaining stories.
I was happy to catch up with the characters and the complex plot kept me hooked till the last page.
The mystery is solid and kept me guessing, the historical background is vivid and well researched.
I can't wait to read the next installment hoping there will be a lot more.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
Crispin Guest--another fascinating mystery!

It's now 1398. The years are moving on for Crispin Guest, disposed knight. We and he feel the seasons turning. Just out of sight there are the strains of his lost life juxtaposed against the now and the comfort of what he has, what he's become. From Traitor to Tracker, from being stripped of all he had to reputable investigator.
For all this it seems in the background to his now, his past, present and future are colliding.
Crispin is older and wiser. I love the tender moments when he takes stock of his made family, Jack Tucker, his wife Isabel and their children. He now has a reputation to be proud of--The Tracker. He has a relationship with his son Christopher by Philippa Walcote, he is feeling content. It's been a long time for coming. It seems into this setting will come a pull from the past, but that story will be for our last view of him.
In the Now, Lawyer Nigellus Cobmartin and his companion John Rykener, known as Eleonor, discover a skeleton when doing renovations to Cobmartin's family home. They call in their friend the Tracker. I love Nigellus and Eleonor. Their relationship is warm and profound. Their story adds another dimension to Crispin Guest's life.
Now Crispin has a murder to solve, a twenty year old mystery that will reach from the past into the now and threaten those he holds dear.
On a more personal note, I've held this ARC in abeyance for a few months putting off reading it because I love Crispin Guest so much that I'm now delaying to the the last minute the pleasure of reading his latest story. How I'll cope with coming to terms with his last ever story I just don't know. 

A Severn House ARC via NetGalley 
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
Was this review helpful?
Another adventure for Crispin Guest, the Tracker of London, at the end of the fourteenth century. The sights and smells (plenty of those) of the mediaeval city come alive on these pages as the author deftly portrays the variety of characters  in this complex mystery. When a twenty year old skeleton is discovered in the walls of barrister Nigel Cobmartin's house, it sets in trail a path of detection which places in jeopardy not only lives in this and other eminent households but that of Crispin and his faithful assistant Jack. The clues are all there, but it's really the varied cast, high born and low born, who take centre stage in this excellent recreation of what life - nasty, brutish and short - must have been in Richard II's London.
Was this review helpful?
A fun and complex read featuring a truly unique detective in Crispin Guest,  a disgraced nobleman who now solves crimes with the assistance of his assistant Jack.  It's 1398 London and a home renovation has turned up a skeleton so Crispin is called in by Nigellus, the home owner, to figure out first who the bones were and second who did it.  Is it the servant who went missing twenty years earlier?  Twenty years was a much longer time in the 14th century than it is today but memories are long and answering the questions brings danger.  No spoilers from me.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I've only read a couple of the books in this series and this would be fine as a standalone.  Perfect for fans of medieval mysteries.
Was this review helpful?
That this series has made it to 3 books is a miracle. The plot is thin, it is a very light read, the book has been padded out with extraneous historical detail to prove there was some actual research done. The book is far too preoccupied with issues other than the telling of a murder mystery - not for me, sorry.

#SpitefulBones #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Crispin Guest is getting older, but still has it! Ms. Westerson has spun another tale of twists and turns that will keep you reading until it is over, and wishing for more. I do love the romantic side of this series, too, although it isn't meant for Crispin, he has Jack's family to dote upon. I like how loose ends are being tied up. I was thinking this was the last book in the series - but I was happy to see there is one more. This is definitely a must read in this amazing series, by a very talented author.
Was this review helpful?
Crispin Guest is getting older, but still has it! Ms. Westerson has spun another tale of twists and turns that will keep you reading until it is over, and wishing for more. I do love the romantic side of this series, too, although it isn't meant for Crispin, he has Jack's family to dote upon. I like how loose ends are being tied up. I was thinking this was the last book in the series - but I was happy to see there is one more. This is definitely a must read in this amazing series, by a very talented author.
Was this review helpful?
In 1930s London, restoration work on the home of Nigellus Cobmartin comes to a stop when a body is found behind one of the walls.  Twenty years earlier The servant Wilfred Roke disappeared along with a sacred relic.  At the suggestion of Nigellus’ companion John Rykener,  Crispen Guest, the Tracker of London, is called in to discover the truth behind Roke’s death.  With little to go on, Crispen and his apprentice Jack Tucker interview the staff to learn more of the circumstances of Roke’s disappearance and the rumors that circulated at the time.  As the interviews occur, someone takes the opportunity to destroy the estate’s records for the year Roke disappeared.  Crispen concludes that the murderer is still a part of the household and when another servant with a connection to Roke is murdered Crispen fears that Nigellus and John are in danger..  He has them moved to a safe location until the murderer is found, but this murderer is determined to find all those who might identify him and nowhere is truly safe.

Throughout Jeri Westerson’s series, readers have watched Crispen develop his reputation as the Tracker.  Jack Tucker has matured from a young boy to a grown man with a wife and children.  While Crispen never married, Jack’s family shares quarters with him and he has taken the role of the patriarch.  He is now forty-three years old and as the investigation progresses he allows Jack to take on more responsibilities.  Theirs is a relationship of trust and humor that makes this a most enjoyable tale.

Westerson paints a clear picture of life in 1300s London.  This is the penultimate book in the series and ends with a look at the political situation and hints at the turmoil to come.  Spiteful Bones will delight fans of historical mysteries and is highly recommended.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Severn House Publishers for allowing my review of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Spiteful Bones has Crispin Guest solving a tight little mystery. A skeleton clutching a missing relic is found behind a wall in a manor house in the process of being renovated. The owner, a friend of Crispin’s, appeals to the tracker to solve the 20 year old crime. Soon there is another murder and Crispin realizes that both deaths are connected and the solution to the first murder will point to the murderer of the second victim. He carefully follows the clues to a satisfactory conclusion.

This novel, the penultimate according to author Jeri Westerson, is more than a mystery. It is a setup for the final book. Westerson resolves some major issues. She shows Crispin very content with his life and he revels in the love lavished on him by the ever increasing family of his adopted son and partner Jack Tucker. He would be happy to grow old by this fireside. In addition, he has a meeting with Merchant Walcot, an honorable man who sets Crispin’s mind at rest about the woman Crispin loves and her son.

In the final pages, Crispin’s life comes full circle. He has a mysterious guest during the night. Henry Bolingbrook has just been banished by his cousin King Richard II and he asks Crispin to guard his father John of Gaunt, Crispin’s former patron. He cannot refuse. The final question is to be answered. Will Crispin spend his golden years surrounded by his friends and family in his little house in the Shambles or will he be swept up in court intrigue which will lead to the War of the Roses?
Was this review helpful?
A nice mystery set in medieval England, the penultimate book in a series featuring a detective-like character and his assistants. I do rather wish the author had done more reading than what they apparently did on transpeople in the period, rather than simply taking a name and a tiny bit of information from a historical record and deciding to use that material to create a character without doing much additional research on the topic. This was an ok read, but lacking compelling enough characters or plot to make me want to read any more in the series. The characters were all dull and flat, the "twist" in the mystery could be seen miles away, and the ending, in which the main character becomes caught up in real-like historical events of the period, felt tacked-on and unnecessary.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Jeri Westerson, Severn House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC of SPITEFUL BONES.
What a romp through the 14th Century! This is the first novel I've read in this series and I now want to read the others. Totally absorbing. I loved the character of Crispin Guest, a once nobleman accused  of treason. he is now the London Tracker in 1398. John Rykener and Nigellus (Mr & Mrs Cobmartin who live their lives completely out of the social norms) are renovating Nigellus' ancestral home.. A skeleton is discovered plastered into a wall holding a relic that disappeared many years before.. It is up to Crispin to find out exactly who murdered the person in the wall...and why. A fast pace and a compelling storyline. I really enjoyed the journey.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely love this series, and the 14th book is no exception. Medieval noir does not get any better, with Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, solving mysteries and murders (often involving holy relics) along with his very appealing apprentice, Jack Tucker. There are an abundance of very interesting secondary characters in these books, and this one features the always entertaining John/Eleanor Rykener, based on an actual historical figure. Although understandable, I am saddened that the author is ending the series with the next book, and I eagerly await that one. In the meantime, I continue to recommend this series to historical mystery readers, including this newest most enjoyable entry.
Was this review helpful?
Crispin Guest is the Tracker of London, a medieval man who balances the politics of the era, which have resulted in the downturn of his financial fortunes, and his current role in finding murderers.  In this story a grisly discovery is made in the home of his friend, Nigellus, when builders begin renovation work.  The plot is twisted, with Crispin struggling to find out who is guilty, while also coming under attack himself.  He is supported in his quest by his faithful apprentice Jack, as well as Christopher, the son he may not acknowledge.

An entertaining read, although in parts the dialogue strikes more modern than Medieval.  The character of John Rykener is very interesting!  

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishers for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Crispin Guest (former nobleman accused  of treason) is now the London Tracker in 1398, no murderer will escape him. He is called to the renovated home of his friends John Rykener and Nigellus (Mr & Mrs Cobmartin) where a skeleton has been discovered in the wall with a missing relic. With the help of his apprentice Jack he must find how a 20 year old murder connects to a second murder. He moves partners  Eleanor (John) and Nigellus into the home of his lost love Philippa Walcote and son Christopher to protect them but who will protect Crispin’s family when a murderer calls. This is a fast paced story with likeable main characters. It would be worth reading previous stories in the series to see how Crispin’s life has changed.
I was given an arc of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Perhaps the penultimate novel in this series about Crispin Guest, the London Tracker.  :(

An odd couple, a body interred in a wall, a precious relic, a murder and further threats all woven in together as Crispin attempts to discover the guilty party.  His own life has both satisfactions and potential problems.

I've enjoyed this series since the first book, and I'm sorry that the author is planning to end it.  I do understand her reasons, but I will miss the intriguing mysteries and the well-developed and evolving characters.   Westerson plans to end the series with the next book.

Read in June;  blog review scheduled for Aug. 16.

NetGalley/Severn House
Medieval Mystery.  Sept. 1, 2020.
Was this review helpful?
I hadn't know when I requested a review copy that Jeri Westerson's Spiteful Bones was part of an ongoing historical mystery series—but I was delighted to find out because that means I have lots of reading pleasure ahead of me as I go back to read the rest of the series.

Westerson's central character in this series, Crispin Guest, is the London Tracker, who investigates cases of murder and other crimes. A former nobleman who lost his rank and estates in a treason scandal, he has made an interesting life for himself which crosses class and social distances in ways that were uncommon during the series late-14th Century setting. Guest and the supporting cast have full back stories and are interesting as individuals, not at all the kind of "cardboard cutouts" that people some historical mysteries.

In this case, a lawyer finds a body interred in the walls of his home, which he is remodeling. His wife (who is a marvelous character—I'll say no more about them here) recommends that he ask Guest to investigate. The likely identity of the body is a former family servant, who disappeared twenty years ago, along with a valuable family reliquary.

I'm not an historian and can't speak to all the details, but I appreciated the moments when I could tell Westerson had gotten her period details right. For example, family and business records aren't kept in books; they're recorded on scrolls that are then piled on shelves, and each scroll has its own identifying leather label.

If you enjoy series mysteries, particularly those set in the Middle Ages, you're in for a treat with this series. The author warns that this title includes "spoilers" for some of the earlier titles, but I had no trouble following the characters and action despite it being my first experience with the series. Make your own decision about that. If you want to start at the beginning, the title you'll be looking for is Veil of Lies.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. The opin ions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I was excited to see a new Crispin Guest novel listed on NetGalley, and pleased to see that it featured John Rykener and his companion Nigellus Cobmartin.  John, aka Eleanor, is depicted sympathetically, and is, frankly, one of my favorite recurring characters in this series . Nigellus' family home is being renovated, and a skeleton clutching a relic is found in a wall. Can Crispin and Jack solve a 20 year old murder? 

This could be read this as a stand-alone, but you would be missing out on the depth of character development that has taken place over the course of now 14 novels. Crispin has progressed from a young and embittered attainted knight to an older, settled, and generally contented denizen of a very working class part of London.  He has a relationship with his natural son, although circumstances require the relationship not be publicly claimed. The author kindly provides a brief introduction to some of the historical characters who are referenced in the series...very helpful, as how a person was known could change over time, with inheritance or the endowment of a new title and holdings. Overall, a very enjoyable addition to a successful series. Many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the opportunity to read the eARC.
Was this review helpful?
Spiteful Bones is the 14th book in a series, but please don't let that put you off, as it works superbly as a standalone novel.
It's fast-paced, gripping and has extremely likeable characters that are easy to connect with. A very enjoyable read, which will have you wanting to back and read the whole series.
Was this review helpful?