Brother Hermitage’s Christmas Gift

Christmas cover 40In a modest little tale for the season, Brother Hermitage heads for London.
William Duke of Normandy is to be crowned King of England on Christmas day 1066; and he expects presents.
For reasons beyond reason the monastery of De’Ath’s Dingle is invited to the ceremony and the only ones who can be let out on their own are Brother Hermitage and Wat the Weaver.
But it will be a rush to get there. With only 7 days to travel over 100 miles, the pair must cross a frozen and largely lawless country if they are to make it to Westminster alive.
And then there’s the problem of Wat’s attitude towards gifts in principle. He doesn’t mind a reasonable exchange but simply giving sounds like a very poor deal.
Perhaps the days of the journey will give Brother Hermitage the opportunity to breath the spirit of the season into his weaving friend.
Or perhaps not.

Recent reviews for Howard of Warwick continue a theme:
5* “Very funny”
5* “Another demented tale”
5* “Briiiiiliant as always.”

A Murder for Mistress Cwen (The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage Book 10)

For a medieval monk who hates investigating anything, Brother Hermitage seems to do it quite a lot. As he stumbles into his 10th full length tale, signs of improvement remain stubbornly invisible.

When Stigand of Arundel arrives in Derby with a commission from King William to buy some very expensive hawks, Wat, Weaver of adult tapestry sees an opportunity for profit. Brother Hermitage sees only trouble.

We then discover that Cwen, fine young tapestrier with a good eye for colour, nimble fingers and a frightening temper, also has some very peculiar relatives. So peculiar that they warrant investigation in their own right.

Once more there is murder and of course there are Normans and Vikings and Saxons. If any of them actually has a clue what’s going on they’re not saying anything.

In his previous debacles Brother Hermitage relied on Wat and Cwen for guidance, support and frequent reminders to use some common sense. This time they’re all up to their eyes in it but surely things can’t go any worse?

Medieval Crime Comedy is not going away and Howard of Warwick doesn’t know any better…

The Case of the Cantankerous Carcass (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage Book 9)

How is a medieval monk supposed to investigate a death if the corpse keeps complaining all the time?

Once more Brother Hermitage toils to avoid his duties as King’s Investigator, and fails miserably. But this time it’s personal.

When his beloved old Abbot arrives at Wat the Weaver’s workshop asking for his aid, Hermitage cannot refuse. He only has one beloved old Abbot, after all. But this one comes with a web made by specially tangled spiders.

There are Normans involved of course, so far so normal. Add a monastery that no monk of sense would go anywhere near and a village of pagans whose answer to every problem is to set light to it and Brother Hermitage is out of his depth almost immediately.

Wat and Cwen the weavers bring some common sense to the situation, but there isn’t much of that to begin with.

It’s medieval crime with all of the normal human failings – and a few new ones as well.

People laugh out loud at Howard of Warwick.

5* “I laughed out loud.”

“Hilarious and very funny.”

“This series just gets better and better.”

The Case of The Curious Corpse (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 8)

More medieval crime comedy; the genre that hides in the bushes and makes strange noises.

Brother Hermitage is compelled to yet another investigation by  the sight of a most curious corpse.   Helpful compulsion also comes in the shape of a dozen well-armed Norman soldiers and the King’s man Le Pedvin, who will probably stab him if he doesn’t get on with it.

Clearly this a Very Important Victim.

Suspicions are raised by a host of fascinating characters, including Hereward the Wake, all of whom claim to have loved the victim dearly, but who all benefit from the death in one way or another.

It’s also a bit odd that King William insists that he is not to blame, despite boasting about being the killer of an awful lot of other people.

On top of all that there is even a rival for the role of Investigator. As Hermitage doesn’t want to be an investigator that’s good, isn’t it?

Ploughing in with Wat and Cwen at his back, side and sometimes in front, Brother Hermitage relies on his well established methodology (hoping something occurs to him at the last minute). But that might not be enough this time.

The mysteries of Brother Hermitage have been variously described as “hilarious”, “laugh out loud funny”, “side-splitting”, and “stupid”  – which is a bit of mystery in its own right. Go on, give it a try….

The Case of the Clerical Cadaver (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 7)

It’s new. It’s medieval. It’s very silly.

A hidden monastery in the depths of England’s depths?

A secret that could rock the church to its core?

A trail of clues that can only be interpreted by an expert?
This all sounds rather familiar….

Except the expert is Brother Hermitage, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Called once more by King William – who doesn’t even know what he’s calling for – Hermitage, Cwen and Wat the weaver set off to deal with the greatest mystery of all. A mystery that has been protected and guarded for years by a secret brotherhood sworn by awful oaths.

A mystery only known to a priest who now happens to be dead.
A mystery hidden in a monastery that isn’t even supposed to exist.
A mystery of such value that the unscrupulous and greedy are also after it, and these particular unscrupulous and greedy know Brother Hermitage very well indeed.

Will all be revealed in a satisfactory manner?
Will the convoluted trail lead to a revelation of staggering significance?

Hardly. This is a Chronicle of Brother Hermitage, after all….

 

Hermitage, Wat and Some Nuns (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 6)

Brother Hermitage ventures into Cadfael Country…

From the world’s best-selling author of comedy historical mysteries comes another largely pointless excursion.

Medieval Shrewsbury is surely no place for murder. Not in this charming town would investigative monks wander around bothering people over every little incident.

When Brother Hermitage arrives at Shrewsbury in the summer of 1068 something is up. Or rather down. Gilder, the great merchant is dead and Hermitage’s urge to investigate is overwhelming.

His companions, Cwen and Wat, weaver of pornographic tapestry think this is a very bad idea.

So does the whole town Moot. And the sheriff and the rest of the population.

And then there are the nuns. Hermitage has never been strong in the face of adversity and an adverse nun is more than he can cope with. A whole order of them is something to be strenuously avoided.

But there is always his duty. It’s got him into trouble so many times; why should Shrewsbury be any different?

Hermitage, Wat and Some Druids (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 5)

Brother Hermitage keeps going – this time with druids.

Is it a murder mystery? Is it a thriller? Is it just something gone horribly wrong?

When his nemesis, the Norman conqueror Le Pedvin orders him to Wales, Brother Hermitage knows it is going to go wrong. He’s had a prophecy it’s going to go wrong. And from his first steps on the road it strides firmly in that direction.

Brother Hermitage, Wat, weaver of pornographic tapestry and Cwen, weaver in her own right and the fiercest of the lot, are commanded to find one dead Norman in the whole of Wales – as usual under pain of death.
Add to that some treasure and a druid curse or two, and we have the recipe for a laugh out loud historical tale like no other. (Apart from the other Chronicles of Brother Hermitage)

It’s all complicated enough, but when what seems like the whole of the country wants to join in, things get very messy.

And then there are the druids, and stone circles, and sacrifices….

“he who has laughter on his side has no need of proof” Theodore Adorno.

Hermitage, Wat and Some Murder or Other (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 4)

As if one trilogy wasn’t enough….

Humour ahead: The works of Howard of Warwick are hilarious and very silly. If you value your historical proprieties look away now.

After 1066 not all the Normans were in England. Those left in Normandy were up to no good and the ghastly Le Pedvin, wants one of them dealt with.

Brother Hermitage, the most medieval of detectives, and his companion Wat, weaver of tapestry you wouldn’t want your children to see, are dispatched to the Norman home-land to bring a killer to justice. How they do it is up to them and why they’re doing it is none of their business; they have their orders and the consequences of disobedience will be death – as usual.

It’s not clear what Le Pedvin is up to.
It’s not clear that anyone is actually dead.
Not much is clear about Norman villagers at all.
It’s definitely not clear how Hermitage and Wat are going to get out of this alive.
But it will be….

The Tapestry of Death (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 3)

Yet more from Brother Hermitage.

England 1067: Briston the weaver has been murdered – in a very special way – and it is up to his old friend Wat to avenge his death.
Brother Hermitage will naturally support his companion in the quest, but the young monk worries as the number of suspects keeps rising. He’s never been good with crowds.

When events take a turn for the truly bizarre, Hermitage and Wat find themselves up to their Saxon socks in people who want them dead, people who want one another dead and people who seem to want everyone dead.

They must find a missing maiden, placate a giant killer and reveal the awful secret of the Tapestry of Death before matters are resolved. Resolved largely unsatisfactorily, but then that’s life.

With a monk, tradesmen, priests, Normans and Saxons, The Tapestry of Death should be a solid, traditional medieval who-done-it, but it isn’t. Really, it isn’t.

Authentic and accurate representation of the time? Barely.
Historically informative? Certainly not.
Hilarious and very silly? Now you’re getting warm.

The Garderobe of Death (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 2)

Brother Hermitage is at again….

England 1067: Henri de Turold, King William’s favourite hunting companion has been murdered. How anyone actually did it, given the remarkably personal nature of the fatal wound, is a bit of a mystery.

Lord Robert Grosmal, of disordered mind, disordered castle and Henri’s host at the time, knows that King William gets very tetchy when his friends are murdered. He sends to the nearby monastery of De’Ath’s Dingle for a monk to investigate.

Medieval monks are usually good at this sort of thing.  Brother Hermitage is a medieval monk but he’s not very good at this sort of thing. Motivated by the point of a sword he and his companion Wat the weaver set off to solve the crime.  Oh, by the way King William is arriving that night so they better get a move on.

Brother Hermitage’s second criminal investigation reveals many things. Improvement is not among them. If you are looking for a poignant evocation of the medieval world, an insightful exploration of the characters of the time, buy a different book. Ellis Peters is quite good.

After this debacle he even has another go in The Tapestry of Death. Out now on Kindle

The Heretics of De’Ath (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage: Book 1)

Where it all begins – The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage, Book 1.

England 1066: At the monastery of De’Ath’s Dingle, during a completely pointless theological debate, there is a mysterious death.

Routine business for the average investigative medieval monk. Unfortunately this isn’t a tale of average monks.

Anyone who would put the idiot Brother Simon in charge of a murder investigation is either one chant short of a plainsong, or is up to something.

When Brother Hermitage, innocent in every way, including bystanding, is lined up for execution, he begins to wonder if something might be going on. Perhaps his new companion Wat, weaver of pornographic tapestry, can figure out what it is. Before it’s too late.

Brother Hermitage, the Shorts

Vignettes from the life of the most medieval detective of all, Brother Hermitage.

Rooting through the cast-off manuscripts of an accident in a parchment factory, Howard of Warwick has pieced together a remarkable tale. Several of them in fact.

These tales cast a new light on medieval investigation, but it’s not a very bright light. They follow the comings and goings of Brother Hermitage, the monk who somehow resolved the mystery of The Heretics of De’Ath.The monk who stumbled though the murder of The Garderobe Of Death. The monk who wandered through The Tapestry of Death. And the monk who came out alive from Hermitage, Wat and Some Murder or Other.

Doing what no other storyteller of medieval murder would dare do, probably quite wisely, Howard of Warwick, takes us into the mind of Brother Hermitage. Here we find there is quite a lot of room, but most of it is full of books.

Read if your dare. Read if you must. Just don’t take anything too seriously.

The Domesday Book (No, Not That One)

Special tie-in edition…now available in paper with words and everything.

The time in Hastings, England is 1066 precisely. Duke William of Normandy may have just won the most recent battle in the area but he has mislaid something precious; something so precious no one must even know it is missing.

He carefully assembles a team for a secret mission of recovery, (the assembly is careful, not the team), and he sends them forth to the north.

But his secret is already out and another band has the treasure in their sights.

In a race across a savage land, against the clock and against one another, two forces hurtle towards a finale of cataclysmic proportions; all in 29 concise and entertaining chapters.

Find out what the treasure is. Find out who gets it first. Find out what happens to everyone afterwards. Find out some other stuff. Containing several facts and a brief appearance by a monk; it could have happened, it might have happened… but probably didn’t.

Out of the Scriptorium comes an extraordinary history.

A book so epic it has a map.

The Magna Carta (Or Is It?)

Read the full text of Magna Carta in Latin and English here! But don’t take the tale of its production too seriously – or seriously at all.

From the quill of Howard of Warwick, the world’s best selling author of historical humour, comes yet more History as it might have happened, but probably didn’t.

To mark the 800th anniversary, Howard has forced his attentions on the most famous charter in history. Here is a Runnymede full of real people; confused, squabbling, ill-informed and largely incompetent. Never mind 800 years, it’s a miracle the charter survived to the end of its first week…. if it did!

In The Magna Carta (Or Is It?) we discover that King John entrusted the copying of the original charter to one Aelward Dunktish, a man not normally reliable enough to pour water. The King must be up to something. And so must the nobles who want Dunktish for their own purposes. And then there are the King’s notorious mercenaries, the men of Touraine, who have ideas of their own, all of them involving death and horses.

They’re all up to no good, and Dunktish IS no good. It’s the sort of tale that will end in disaster – except in the hands of Aelward Dunktish, it all starts with one.