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by Mary Monica Pulver

Reviewed by Karen Meek

Paperback - 180 pages (May 2, 2001)
FTL Publications; ISBN: 096535752X

MURDER AT THE WAR introduces series regulars Peter and Kori Brichter and it does so in a very unusual way. Both are members of The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) a group which recreates and acts out mediaeval history, with the major event being the annual War, held in Pennsylvania. For the event, which takes place over a weekend, all attendees are addressed by their society name. Peter is Stefan von Helle and Kori, Katherine of Tretower.

The War is fought between the kingdoms of Midrealm and the East but a third faction is the Horde who each year, side with the kingdom who is most persuasive. The Horde is perceived as a bunch of troublemakers so it's no surprise that on the day of the first battle it is a Horde member, Thorstane, who is found dead. As it is Katherine who finds the body and as she had had a run in with him the previous day, she is under suspicion of murder. As the battlefield is enclosed it follows that the murderer must be a member of the SCA and it's up to Stefan, a policeman in real life, to find the perpetrator and clear his lady's name.

I have to say I really loved this book, it's such an unusual premise. It's very well written, with the author obviously knowing the subject thoroughly. All the way through the characters address and comport themselves as if they were in mediaeval times. Beneath that there is a very good traditional mystery, with a victim loathed by many and for good reason, a limited amount of suspects and many alibis to be examined. The main characters are likeable and I'm looking forward to reading more about them and the secondary characters are also very memorable.

Deservedly, this was nominated for an Anthony when it was first published in 1987. It was also published in paperback as Knight Fall in 1992. This edition contains revisions to the earlier versions.

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