The Knights Templar Mysteries by Michael Jecks

Michael Jecks

The Knights Templar Collection


Presenting The Knights Templar Mysteries

When a spate of burnings occur in a quiet Devon village, Bailiff Simon Puttock is grateful for the help of the astute yet strangely reticent Sir Baldwin, who has recently come to live nearby. Are the deaths linked, and will the murderer strike again?

The midwife and healer Agatha Kyteler has only ever helped the locals, but to some superstitious folk her skills seem like witchcraft. Sir Baldwin and his friend Simon must forge a path through the suspicion, jealousy and disloyalty of the little village to find her murderer. 

A runaway serf can expect death if his lord catches him, but Peter Bruther can claim the protection of the King when he runs to Dartmoor, so his death is murder. But with the tinminers' protection racket, Sir William Beauscyr's feuding sons, and the strange northern knight, there are too many suspects.

The arrival of a brutal band of mercenaries is fearful enough for the small town of Crediton, but when a servant girl is found murdered and the mercenary captain's treasure is stolen, Simon and Baldwin find that the Crediton Killings have only just begun.

Tavistock's fair should be a time of enjoyment, but a decapitated corpse ends that. Simon and Baldwin cannot even tell who the victim was, yet they know that beneath the activity of the bustling fair, anger and violence lie ready to burst out.

Civil war looms and a goldsmith is murdered in his own hall. Baldwin and Simon must seek the murderer quickly, before the wild rumours make the angry townspeople take their revenge on the lepers in the local hospital, causing wholesale slaughter.

After Squire Roger dies, falling from his horse, his five year old son inherits. When he too dies, Baldwin is convinced that it was no accident, but so many had motives to kill poor young Herbert. Little do Baldwin and Simon realise how shocking and sinister this investigation will prove.

It is hard to run a convent, but Lady Elizabeth, Prioress of Belstone, must fight devastating competition for her very position. And then young Moll is murdered, and she must call for the help. Baldwin and Simon find that primitive passions and secret ambitions are prevalent even in a house of God.

A warrior lies dead, one of his hounds dead at his side, and nearby is the body of a convicted felon. Could the felon have killed a trained knight and his dog? And if he did, where is the knight's horse and his money? And then Baldwin and Simon learn that the dead knight was ambassador to the king's hated friends, a man with many enemies.

When Ralph, a noted philanthropist, is found dead, Exeter's people are baffled, but then a youth is poisoned in the Cathedral and the mystery deepens. Was it suicide, or was he killed by outlaws in revenge for the hanging of their comrade? Hidden by the Christmas celebrations, there is a ruthless murderer who will soon strike again.

A tournament should be a time of pageant and pleasure, and yet before it can begin the man financing it is found beaten to death. Soon, even as the tournament gets under way, more men are found dead, and Baldwin and Simon must catch the murderer before he can kill again.

The joy of an innocent afternoon's play is shattered when two girls find a skull. Baldwin and Simon join the Coroner and learn that there have been several murders over the last seven years, but were they committed by a man - or is there a supernatural explanation?

In the autumn of 1322, history is about to repeat itself, or so it seems. A man has been found dead on the moors, and wine has been stolen from the Abbot's private stores. It is reminiscent of the legend of Milbrosa and the murders of the Abbot's way .... but does the Devil really provide the key to Tavistock's present fears?

When Mary is killed, the priest's sin seems all too clear, yet Mary was not the simple miller's daughter many thought. Many are devastated by her death, including Sir Ralph of Gidleigh himself, and when the truth about her murder emerges, life for the folk of Gidleigh won't be the same.

After the shocks of the Mad Monk of Gidleigh, Baldwin and Simon have decided to make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, but even here they find that murder is not far away. A group of pilgrims is attacked by outlaws, then a young girl is found murdered near Santiago, and the local pesquisidore soon asks Simon and Baldwin to help try to find the killer.

Returning with relief from their pilgrimage, Simon and Baldwin are thrown from their course by pirates and foul weather. Simon is horrified to wake to recall that his friend was thrown from their ship as they neared the strange islands of Ennor. There Simon is asked to help seek the murderer of the hated local tax-collector, but his searches are hampered by knowledge of the hatred between the community on Ennor and their neighbours on St Nicholas.

At last Simon and Baldwin are once more on the mainland, and their journey home should be shorter, but as they pass Cardinham, they learn that there has been murder in the little Cornish vill: Athelina and her two sons are dead. Baldwin and Simon soon realise that these deaths are not isolated, and want to help find the killer, but when the country is about to become embroiled in civil war, how can they hope to serve justice?

Forty years ago, Exeter Cathedral close rang to the clamour of weapons, shouts of defiance and screams of pain. Afterwards, the bodies lying in their own blood bore silent witness to the conflicts that were tearing at the heart of the Cathedral itself. Today, in 1323, more deaths have occurred. Is the first an accident? The second is surely murder, brutal and foul.

A strange man is entering people's houses at night, causing panic amongst householders, because this is a man who likes children. And although many had thought him harmless, now he seems to have committed murder. A man lies dead in his own home, slaughtered merely for trying to protect his children, and the folk of Exeter want this menace caught and hanged.

Bloodshed and mayhem reach almost into Simon Puttock's own household: Simon's servant, Hugh, has been granted leave to look after his wife Constance and help raise her child. One day she is attacked and raped by a gang of men at her home. She sees her son being murdered and then her man Hugh is struck down, before she is killed and the house set on fire.

In Dartmouth, a man is found lying dead in the road. But the inhabitants of this little haven dismiss his death as a drunken accident, their attention turned to more worrying matters - piracy. A ship, the St John, has been discovered, half ravaged and the crew missing, in an attack that bears all the hallmarks of the supposedly disbanded Lyme Pirates. Could this be the beginning of a vicious onslaught, or is something even more sinister happening?

Roger Mortimer - the King's most hated enemy - has escaped from the Tower, and the King's life is threatened. Baldwin and Simon know the dangers of becoming embroiled in politics, in these bloodthirsty times. But when two bodies are found in the city's streets, the Bishop calls upon them to find out who was responsible. And one of the dead men was a messenger, carrying a dangerous secret...

The first of a short mini-series in which Baldwin and Simon are thrust into first national politics, and then international. They are taken to London with the Bishop of Exeter as part of his coterie of advisers and guards. There, they learn that there has been murder committed within the palace of Westminster itself. The King demands that they help find the murderer.

Isabella, Queen of England, has been dispatched to France in an attempt to bring about peace between the two countries, and Baldwin must accompany her. But the day after their arrival, a servant is found murdered, with Baldwin's dagger lying next to the body. As Baldwin struggles to prove his innocence, the killer strikes again. With so many English enemies gathering in Paris, will Baldwin be able to expose the culprit in time to protect the English King?

Baldwin and Simon return from France, but cannot extricate themselves from affairs of state: they have an urgent message for the King. Once more they find themselves at the centre of a deadly court intrigue involving the most powerful and ruthless men in the country. Has Baldwin won the enmity of the most dangerous man in England?

In their most dangerous mission yet, Baldwin and Simon must uncover a deadly assassination plot that will change the course of English history.It's 1325, and Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace and his friend Bailiff Simon Puttock are in France to join Prince Edward and Bishop Walter's entourage as they make their journey to the palace of the French king, Charles IV. The Prince must make a demeaning submission in order for the English to keep hold of their French territories. Meanwhile, Queen Isabella has been causing a scandal in the French courts with English traitor Roger Mortimer. The Prince's entourage are delivered into the Queen's custody, but it becomes clear that they have enemies within the palace walls. Simon and Baldwin soon discover a murderous plot that threatens England's future...

At last, Baldwin and Simon return to Devon - but is this good news? When they inform King Edward II that his estranged wife, Queen Isabella, is set on defying him, the King flies into a rage and Baldwin and Simon are told that they are no longer in his favour. Back in Devon, they discover that outlaws now hold sway in the land. Sir Robert, a knight from the King's household, has turned outlaw from his castle near Crediton. When a pair of clerics are found brutally murdered, Baldwin and Simon are asked to investigate.

1326. In France, King Edward II's estranged wife Queen Isabella shames him by refusing to return to England, and humiliates him further by flaunting her adulterous relationship with the king's sworn enemy, traitor Sir Roger Mortimer. When the king hears she has betrothed their son to the daughter of the Count of Hainault, all England fears an invasion of Hainault mercenaries. Meanwhile the Treasurer of England's life is threatened. He has made many enemies in a long political life and Sir Baldwin and Simon must do all they can to find the would-be assassin before he can strike...

1326. In an England riven with conflict, knight and peasant alike find their lives turned upside down by the warring factions. Yet even in such times, the brutal slaughter of an entire family, right down to a babe in arms, still has the power to shock. Three further murders follow, and bailiff Simon Puttock is drawn into a web of intrigue, vengeance, power and greed as Roger Mortimer charges him to investigate the killings.

As the year 1326 draws to a close, London is in flames. King Edward II is a prisoner - and his guards are Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and bailiff Simon Puttock. Their loyalties are torn, and soon they find themselves entangled in a tightening net of conspiracy, greed, betrayal and murder.

It's 1327 and England is in turmoil. The deposed king has escaped from captivity - and when Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and bailiff Simon Puttock ride to Exeter to admit their failure, they are greeted by bloody murder within the walls of the town.

Look back to the Holy Land in 1291. The Crusaders still cling to one last city: Acre. What has brought Baldwin de Furnshill, a young boy, green and scared, to this desperate battle?

About Michael Jecks

Michael Jecks is a prolific international novelist with forty titles published or commissioned, Five more collaborative novels, and many contributions to anthologies. His Death Ship of Dartmouth (Headline, 2006) was short-listed for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, and his work has been celebrated by the fountain pen manufacturers Conway Stewart and Visconti. 
Originally a student actuary, Michael soon moved into information technology and worked as a salesman in the computer industry for thirteen years, spending five years at Wordplex, then another five at Wang Laboratories. In that time he was regularly top salesman of the month and won awards for his presentation skills. 
With the collapse of his employers during the recession of the 1980s, he decided to seek a new career. In 1994 he began to write his first novel. That led to his internationally acclaimed Templar series, at 32 titles the longest crime series by any living author. 
The founder of Medieval Murderers and Bloody Brits, he has served on the committee of the Historical Writers’ Association and as Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. As an international speaker he has worked with the British Council and at universities and festivals all over America and Europe from Anchorage to Piacenza. In 2014 he was the International Guest of Honour for the Bloody Words festival in Toronto, and Grand Marshall of the first parade in the New Orleans Mardi Gras. 
A passionate supporter of new writing, Michael organised the CWA Debut Dagger and has judged a variety of prizes such as the Paddon Award at Exeter University, the Impress Prize and the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. He runs workshops at the Swanwick writers’ summer school and has mentored and tutored students at Exeter University as a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. 
Michael lives on Dartmoor with his wife and two children. His main hobbies and pastimes are: watercolouring, walking with his dogs (Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rhodesian Ridgebacks and currently a rescued Dalmatian), home brewing and Morris dancing. 
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