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PC Doherty

The Devil's Hunt

Headline 1996

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In the golden summer of 1303, murder makes its presence felt in the King's university city of Oxford. The severed heads of beggars are found, tied by their hair, to the trees in the woods outside Oxford. In the city itself all is not well at one of the colleges, Sparrow Hall; its Regent, John Copsale, has been found dead in his bed. Some claim he died in his sleep, others whisper that he was murdered by the mysterious 'Bell Man1. Then the college librarian and archivist, Robert Ascham, is discovered in the college library, a crossbow bolt in his chest. Definitely murder, but who was responsible? After all, the library was sealed, its windows and doors shuttered, and what was Ascham trying to write on a piece of manuscript found lying beside him? Are the Regent's death and Ascham's murder the result of a terrible curse of ghosts who still walk seeking vengeance? And who is the Bell Man - that mysterious, anonymous writer who posts treasonous bills and letters on church doors all over the city? King Edward hears of the seething unrest in Oxford and arrives unannounced at Sir Hugh Corbett's country manor at Leighton to insist that Sir Hugh goes to Oxford to resolve the murderous mysteries which threaten to plunge the city and university into chaos. And when the King commands, few can resist, even if it means knowingly entering a dangerous and violent world...

PC Doherty


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