P.C. Doherty

Anchoring his feet in all the muck of mean streets, Doherty rifles epochs with robust wit and zest for breaking open hidden secrets. He sends Edward Iís ascetic Chancery clerk Hugh Corbett to sleuth against a range of backdrops so evocative that readers shiver in the cold of wintry St Paulís (The Angel of Death) or flame at Oxford with the Templarsí fervor (Satanís Fire); decades later, in another series, a Falstaffian City of London coroner teams with a Dominican from a poor Southwark parish to contrast power with poverty.

No series-confine quells Dohertyís quests for solutions to historical puzzles, nor his penchant for creating locked-room mysteries. Heís recently tapped into a mystical vein (The Rose Demon) and follows a Chaucerian model with tales "told during the evenings on pilgrimage from London to Canterbury" (Ghostly Murders and its predecessors).

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