The Pardoner's Crime
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It is 1322 and Sir Richard Lee, Sergeant-at-Law, has been sent to Sandal Castle by King Edward II to preside over the court of the Manor of Wakefield. Within hours of his arrival, Sir Richard and his assistant Hubert of Loxley are forced to investigate a vicious rape and a cold-blooded murder. Yet as the township prepares for the forthcoming Wakefield mystery plays, the strangest case of all is brought before him. The Pardoner, Albin of Rouncivale, throws himself upon the mercy of the court and confesses to a crime that everyone believed had been committed by the outlaw Robin Hood. Sir Richard must move quickly to discover the truth: the stability of the realm and indeed the crown itself may depend upon it.
eleven o’clock and the jury shall begin by viewing the body.’ He bowed and took his seat; all too aware that he was attracting looks and stares from all over the hall. He was also aware that Lady Wilhelmina’s eyes seemed to register a sort of fascination. After a signal from Sir Thomas the quartet began to play again and Richard nodded his head approvingly. ‘You have a fine band of musicians there. Especially the lute player.’ Lady Alecia’s eyes sparkled and she smiled, almost wistfully. ‘Ah,
‘We are running through two of the plays,’ she explained. ‘Here on the left is The First Shepherd’s Play, by our Guild of St Oswald, and on the right is the Guild of Grocers with their play Herod the Great. After that we are going to go through our The Talents and the Grocers The Deliverance of Souls.’ Richard made appropriately approving noises about the pageants themselves with their elaborate stages. Each pageant was about twice the size of a normal wagon, built as were all of the pageants
man – well, it looks as if he had been in league with the bowman, until the opportunity presented itself for him to remove him as well. By doing so he effectively removed all potential blame from him.’ The crowd considered it all and this time Richard did not stop them from talking among themselves. He noticed that the twelve jurymen also were murmuring to each other. ‘I go back to our adventure of yesterday,’ Richard continued, when the hubbub settled. ‘You do not need to know the details, but
around and sent me away. Why will you not lie with me?’ He looked aside. ‘Wilhelmina, it is not easy.’ Her eyes opened wide in shock. ‘Are you – like his majesty? Do you prefer other men? Is that why he calls you Richard?’ As she fired questions her eyes became wider still, almost round. Beautifully round, he thought. ‘So is your manservant – Hubert – is he more to you than a servant?’ He gave her a thin smile and shook his head. ‘No, Wilhelmina, it is nothing like that.’ ‘Then what? Is there
finally tossed on the pyre and the dried branches began to smoke and burn, until flames were licking at her. Then seemingly from out of nowhere, an arrow flew and pierced her heart. She gasped once, then her head fell and mercifully she knew no more. Richard made the sign of the cross over his heart. So many deaths, so much hate. Yet for this last death he was grateful. He was pretty certain that he knew who had fired that arrow. God save the King! He mouthed, then rose to leave. He had a