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Carpe Librum

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Historical Novel Society

The Colour of Cold Blood by Toni Mount

The Colour of Cold Blood: The Third Sebastian Foxley Medieval Murder Mystery (Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery Series) (Volume 3) - Toni Mount

I just love so much about this series and this book in particular that I'm not sure where to start. I suppose the best place to begin is with Sebastian Foxley himself, the title character and, I'm guessing, many readers' reason for picking up this book. Sweet, naive Sebastian is easy to love . . . unless you are his wife, Emily. The romance between these two that flourished so effortlessly in the previous installments has fallen a bit flat after a year of marriage. Instead of being endearing, Seb's habits of getting lost in his work and being willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to help others begins to get on Emily's nerves.

Part of me doesn't blame her. When Sebastian seems to see every one else's needs but Emily's, I felt some sympathy for her. However, she takes things a bit far and does some things that I can't believe Sebastian immediately forgives her for.

Of course, that is Sebastian's nature. He forgives people, he cares for people, and he just wants everyone to be happy. Maintaining a happy household is a challenge with Emily and Jude in the same home. Jude's character has gone through a great evolution from the lighthearted ladies' man to a man with demons that he tries to drown in ale. Emily has little patience for this, but Seb is on a mission to save his brother....again.

This novel is more complex than the previous ones in the series with different relationships changing, a mystery unfolding, and the religious schisms of the day beginning to have their effect upon the Foxley household. The author does an excellent job of demonstrating the differences between the traditional Catholics and the reformist Known Men, placing both good and bad men and motives on both sides. This clash gives Sebastian his greatest challenge and makes me wonder how he will handle the continuing shifts in religion in the city he loves.

Late 15th century London is painted before the reader's eyes when reading this series. The food they ate, how much work it took to prepare, what people read, what it was like to walk down the street, what a woman was forced to do to survive if she was left homeless.....so many facets of everyday life make this book more than a typical historical mystery. In Colour of Cold Blood, the reader is invited to step back in time and walk through the chaotic streets of medieval London at Sebastian's side.