"Incredible" - THE CANTERBURY MURDERS by E.M. Powell - Excerpt

“Cleverly plotted, the action is fast paced and full of twists and turns, surprises, and suspense.” —Historical Novel Society on The King's Justice, book one of the Stanton and Barling Mysteries

The Canterbury Murders by E.M. Powell

The Canterbury Murders

A fire-ravaged cathedral. An ungodly murder.

Easter, 1177. Canterbury Cathedral, home to the tomb of martyr Saint Thomas Becket, bears the wounds of a terrible fire. Benedict, prior of the great church, leads its rebuilding. But horror interrupts the work. One of the stonemasons is found viciously murdered, the dead man’s face disfigured by a shocking wound.

When King’s clerk Aelred Barling and his assistant, Hugo Stanton, arrive on pilgrimage to the tomb, the prior orders them to investigate the unholy crime.

But the killer soon claims another victim–and another. As turmoil embroils the congregation, the pair of sleuths face urgent pressure to find a connection between the killings.

With panic on the rise, can Barling and Stanton catch the culprit before evil prevails again—and stop it before it comes for them?

THE CANTERBURY MURDERS is the third book in E.M. Powell’s Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series. Combining intricate plots, shocking twists and a winning–if unlikely–pair of investigators, this series is perfect for fans of Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael or C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake.


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The Canterbury Murders

Shortly after Stanton and Barling hear of the murder of Peter Flocke, Stanton has an unsettling encounter with a stranger . . .

The cathedral bells were sounding for Compline, but the streets were still thronged.

Stanton couldn’t help a twinge of regret for the merrymaking he’d looked forward to but was not to be. It didn’t matter. What mattered was working with Barling to solve the murder of that unfortunate stonemason as quickly as possible. Then Stanton could leave Canterbury, putting many miles between him and the city. He would never be able to abide the rejoicing at Henry’s arrival, the praising of the man’s piety. Not when his Rosamund, his love, lay cold in her grave because of the King.

A pastry seller stood on a corner, doing a brisk trade as folk made the most of the last of Palm Sunday. He hurried over, as the woman was down to the last one.

‘Any chance I could have that excellent-looking crust, goodwife?’ He gave her his best smile, his stomach growling at the smell of warm, yeasty dough.

He got the usual blush in return. ‘A pleasure, sir.’

They exchanged coin and pastry and he took a deep bite of his prize as he walked off, the sweetness of the apple it contained flooding onto his tongue. How Barling could choose to sit in his room, scratching away at his tablet, over devouring good food, Stanton would never know. He took another huge mouthful, feeling a bit better.

Somebody collided hard with his aching back, sending him lurching to one side. The remains of his pastry flew from his grasp and splattered into the street muck.

‘A plague on it.’ He turned to tell off whoever had done it.

A wild-eyed man in a threadbare pilgrim’s tunic stared back at him, his hair and long beard clogged with greasy dirt and all of him covered in layers of filth. ‘Praise the Martyr,’ said the stranger. ‘Praise him!’

‘I was praising my pastry,’ said Stanton. ‘Now look at it, fellow.’

The man banged the battered, badge-covered staff he held in his left hand on the ground in front of Stanton. ‘Open your heart to the Lord our God. Before death comes for thee.’ He thrust his right hand in Stanton’s face.

Stanton recoiled. The man’s hand curled over in a twisted claw, his stained fingers and long, dirty fingernails tangled worse than a bundle of tree roots.

A group of laughing, jostling men of Stanton’s age pushed past, sending the man bumping into him.

‘Be watchful, be watchful.’ The stranger stank worse than the spoil underfoot.

Stanton stepped back. ‘On your way, fellow.’

The man staggered away again, into the path of a burly carter. ‘Thou livest and are dead!’ he wailed at the carter.

He got a string of curses for his trouble.

Stanton shook his head as he watched the man stagger on, shouting and gesturing all the while.

Time for that ale. God’s eyes, he needed it.

And once he’d finished it, he’d have another. And another.

It would be the only way he’d sleep tonight.

God rot the King.

Excerpt © E.M. Powell. Shared with permission.


The Author

Author E.M. Powell

E.M. Powell’s historical thriller and medieval mystery Fifth Knight and Stanton & Barling novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers.

The third Stanton & Barling mystery, THE CANTERBURY MURDERS, will be released in November 2020.

Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she lives in northwest England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.

E.M. Powell is represented by Josh Getzler at HG Literary.

Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Type: Novel

Publication Date: November 12, 2020

Crosshaven Press

Series: Stanton & Barling, #3

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Enter to win a paperback copy of The Canterbury Murders by E.M. Powell! Two copies are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to US only and ends on February 5, 2021. You must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is sponsored by the author and hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

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