A Day in the Life with Crispin Guest by Jeri Westerson

The Silence of Stones
London, 1388

Crispin Guest: It’s cold. London’s iciness inevitably creeps into my lodgings on the Shambles. It’s a small room above a tinker’s shop with a simple bed for me and a pile of straw for my apprentice Jack Tucker. The hearth is banked for the night, its ashes still warm when the morning sun, weak as it is, filters through the cracks in the shutters. Jack usually rises first to see to the fire, such as it is. Squares of peat don’t make much of a warm fire, but it cooks the meals, heats the water, and can at least uncurl cramped fingers.

Were I still a knight, still a lord, this would be a very different morn. In my past my servants, who carefully attend my fires at night, would have kept the room warm. My bed clothes would have been thick and comfortable. My valet would have water ready for my shave and ablutions. Food would be brought. All would have been ready for me. I took it for granted, believed it would always be so. But when I committed treason all those years ago, little did I realize that my life was to take such a drastic turn. King Richard—ten years old when he took the throne—was ready to execute me as he had the other conspirators who would have put John of Gaunt the duke of Lancaster and my mentor on the throne over him. When the duke pled for my life the king reluctantly granted his uncle’s wish and though my life was spared there was little left of my former life. Title, riches, land—all swept away with one word from his majesty, and I was set loose upon London with only the clothes on my back.

Some say I deserved to die. Sometimes I wonder that myself.

It was eleven years since I was banished from court, and seven years ago I embarked upon my new vocation as this so-called “Tracker”—a finder of lost objects…and the occasional murderer. The citizens of London, both rich and poor alike hire me to find lost and stolen goods. But more often than I would like, it involves a holy relic or venerated object. Many say that these objects are possessed of mystical powers, but I see little of that. Only the greed of Man as he extorts, connives, steals, and murders his fellow Man. Perhaps the Shambles, London’s butchering district, has made me harsh, but I have eyes, don’t I? I have seen it myself. And so I am hired, working for six pence a day…plus expenses.

Jack Tucker: Master Crispin, you aren’t saying it right.

Jack Tucker here, my master’s protégé and apprentice. Master Crispin can be…well. Stark at times. And so the way he says things can sometimes be—

Crispin: I am saying it perfectly well, Tucker. It isn’t your place to interrupt me.

Jack: All I’m saying, master, is that you make it sound so cruel and dark. And it’s nothing like that.

Crispin: Speak for yourself.

Jack: And so I shall.

Crispin: That wasn’t an invitation.

Jack: Living in my master’s lodgings has been a godsend. I was out on the streets, wasn’t I? Stealing me food and what baubles I could get. It might be cold in here but it’s a fair sight colder outside. And my master has taught me to read and write. And languages! French, Latin, and Greek, though I falter at the last one. But mostly I am learning the trade of a Tracker. It’s interesting work, using me head instead of me back. Though it involves more dead men than I would like, my master has taught me to walk through the problem and to see past the lie. With God’s grace, we manage to bring justice to the dead and, I don’t mind saying, make a coin or two.

The Silence Of Stones is the 8th book in the Crispin Guest Medieval Mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, February 2016.

LONDON, 1388. When the mythical Stone of Destiny is stolen from the throne of England in Westminster Abbey, Crispin Guest, the Tracker, witnesses the dramatic disappearance for himself. After the disastrous civil strife of the last two years, he knows well that King Richard II now fears that the populace will take it as a sign to side with Richard’s rebellious barons. The king can little afford for his authority to be any more undermined, especially after the English army suffers a crushing defeat against a Scottish uprising. Desperate, Richard turns to Crispin to find the missing Stone. And to ensure that he will do the deed, the king imprisons Jack Tucker and orders Crispin to find the Stone before Parliament convenes in three days’ time – or Jack will hang for treason.

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All comments are welcomed.

Meet the author
Los Angeles native and award-winning author Jeri Westerson writes the critically acclaimed Crispin Guest Medieval Mysteries, historical novels, paranormal novels, and LGBT mysteries. To date, her medieval mysteries have garnered twelve industry award nominations, from the Agatha to the Shamus. Kirkus Review said of her latest Crispin Guest Medieval Mystery, “Westerson’s tortured protagonist is never dull, and his newest adventure leads to a swift and satisfying conclusion.”

Jeri is former president of the SoCal chapter of Mystery Writers of America and frequently guest lectures on medieval history at local colleges and museums. See her website JeriWesterson.com for discussion guides, series book trailer, and more.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Silence of Stones. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 2 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

27 responses to “A Day in the Life with Crispin Guest by Jeri Westerson

  1. Doward Wilson

    This sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Very new series to me and its based in a time period I just love reading about. Thank you for a chance.

  3. Sounds great…love historical Mysteries…thank you for the contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  4. Wow this book/series does sound very intriguing.

  5. New to me series – how did I not know about this one?! Thank you for bringing it to my attention, and for giving me a chance to win. 🙂

  6. Or Jack will hang…Just a bit of pressure there!

  7. elainehroberson

    Thanks for a chance to win a copy of The Silence of Stones. It sounds like a book I would really enjoy.

  8. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway.

  9. Thanks to all who left a comment. We launch on February 6 at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena. If you’re in the area, there is medieval food, mead, and a medieval bagpiper! Cheers!

  10. Thanks so much Dru for this insight into this book. I love finding new books to read. robeader53@yahoo.com

  11. This is such a cool series, I’d love to win a copy of the latest book. Thanks for the chance.

  12. I love the premise! An early P.I. Haven’t seen any books by this author. I am definitely going to try one.

  13. I’ve read all the previous books and fell in love with Crispin. Can’t wait to read the new book!

  14. Vicki Highley

    I love Jeri Westerson’s books. I can’t wait to read this one. Hopefully, I will win it.

  15. Oooooh! Love historical mysteries like this! Would love the chance to win but will certainly be looking at the other books by this author!

  16. Can’t wait, still trying to catch up with the series. I’m so excited!!!

  17. I love time period pieces. Sounds like fun to trace these lost items and murderers.

  18. This sounds very interesting; I love the by-law between Jack and his master.

  19. Oh Please Please let me win this so I can add it to my collection of the series

  20. Have you done a lot of research to get a realistic view of life at that time? I like a good mystery, and I like to know how people in the past lived.

  21. Readily engaging from the excerpt. Will look forward to how the story unfolds. Thanks for the chance to win.

  22. Your new book sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  23. Della Williamson

    Love the setting. Great post. Would love to see how things turn out for him

  24. How have I not heard of this series?!?!
    Thanx for the intro & giveaway…..

  25. I love Jeri Westerson’s books. The research is first rate, Crispin is a very interesting character and the writing is spellbinding. Alas, I race through and am done too quickly. If only, I could limit my reading to a few pages a day. No Way.

  26. The Crispin books are interesting, thoughtful, funny, witty and warm. Its bittersweet because even though I’m so glad I found the series two years ago, the time between books seem enormous. I can’t wait to read this new one.