The Demon Archer— Another Good P.C. Doherty Mystery

One of the main reasons to read a whole series of novels by a good writer is to watch how not only the characters develop, but also how the author ups his game.   By my count, The Demon Archer is the 11th in the series of Hugh Corbett medieval murder mysteries, and we see the author in full stride here, his powers of description keen.   Most all of Doherty’s novels have some sort of historical core or kernel to them, and this novel is no different. Only this time the historical kernel is in the background rather than the foreground of the story, about the murder of a leigelord— Sir Henry Fitzalan.

If you like novels that deal with the forests of England (e.g. Robin Hood), then you will like this novel about the forests of Sussex.  You meet all sorts of interesting forest dwellers including  hermits and those called wolfsheads.  The novel seems to center around a forest figure called Owlman,  but in fact the story is mostly about lechery and the murder of prostitutes.   Hugh Corbett must unravel who the real killer is of Sir Henry and the prostitutes, and be prepared for a surprise ending.   There is also the humorous story of how Ranulf, Corbett’s dashing right hand man, falls head over heels in love with the lovely Alicia,  who frankly is out of his league.

I like these novels for a lot of reasons, not least is the glimpse we get of the good, the bad, and the ugly of medieval Christianity, particularly in monasteries and nunneries around England.  Doherty knows the history well, and he does not spare the church when it ought to be critiqued.   This novel is not as suspense-filled as some in the series (see my review of  Murder Wears a Cowl), but it is still a very good read,  indeed.

  • Random Arrow

    “Most all of Doherty’s novels have some sort of historical core or kernel to them.”

    But why does Satan get so many of the coolest names? ~ Jim

  • ben witherington

    Excellent question Random! They don’t call him the Prince of Darkness for nothing. Doherty does have a lot to say about evil and darkness and demons in his novels. It’s a major theme, and his protagonist Hugh Corbett seems to always be in a war with evil. But hey the good guys have funky titles as well such as ‘clerk of the green wax’!


  • Random Arrow

    Thank you! A good reply. It is written – “The mountains melted like [green] wax at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth” (Ps 97:5).

  • automatic forex

    Thanks for that! “The Demon Archer— Another Good P.C. Doherty Mystery | The Bible and Culture” That’s good to know. I didn’t think about it this way… That sounds like a good idea!