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The Huntsman's Tale

(Oxford Medieval Mysteries #3)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,022 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Oxford, Late Summer 1353.
On hearing that his cousin is short-handed for the harvest, Nicholas Elyot takes a group of friends back to the family farm to help. When a deer hunt in Wychwood ends in tragedy, suspicion is directed toward the huntsman, a boyhood friend of Nicholas. Yet the victim has made many other enemies, any one of whom could have shot the fatal arrow. Can
Kindle Edition, 232 pages
Published April 30th 2017 by Shakenoak Press
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4.30  · 
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 ·  1,022 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, 2018, mystery
I really enjoy this series of cosy historical mysteries, not so much for the mysteries, which are generally interesting and well plotted, but for the details of everyday medieval life that the author creates.

In this third novel, Nicholas Elyot, scholar and bookesller of Oxford is asked by his cousin Edmond if he could spare a few weeks in the summer to help out with the harvest. The recent plague had depleted the village of many of the poor cottagers who could normally be hired to help and many
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've always tended to prefer historical fiction set in the more recent past - maybe the 1920s or Victorian times. But now I'm hooked on Ann Swinfen's Oxford Medieval Mysteries. It's not so much the detective story element that is exceptional in these, but the style of writing, with all kinds of convincing little details - the food, the clothes, the surprising descriptions of how all kinds of daily tasks were carried out. I also enjoy the personality of the central character, bookseller Nicholas ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoy this series. Mostly because of the historical context. Although these are crime novels, the plot concerning the crime is not the most important. I find this part holds no surprises. But the parts about 14th century Engeland are very interesting and well written. Nicolas Elyot, the main character, is a flesh and blood person, although i wonder about his view on women. It seems very progressive for the time. This book is allready the 3rd in the series. Filled with interesting kno ...more
I love pretty much everything about this series. Nicholas Elyot is a charming protagonist who loves his friends, his children, and his books. The setting of Oxford and the surrounding area following the plague that decimated the population allows for wonderful exploration into how the people remaining were impacted. And just look at those gorgeous covers!

This third installment in Swinfen's Oxford Medieval Mysteries did not disappoint, though there are still plenty of questions left that led me t
Harriet Steel
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nicholas Elyot escapes the heat of Oxford when he takes a party of friends to help with the harvest on the family farm, but trouble isn't long coming and he finds himself with an intriguing mystery to solve. There's a good plot here but, for me, as a history enthusiast, the greatest appeal of these books is in the historical detail and the way the author recreates the past. Medieval Oxford and subsequently the way of life in the country really came alive. An excellent read particularly if you're ...more
Paul Juniper
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. The continuing characters from books one and two continue to develop, perhaps the story line is a little too obvious. I like the descriptions of the places, I like to see what I am reading in my mind's eye.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Oxford, Late Summer 1353.
Hearing that his cousin is short-handed for the harvest, Nicholas Elyot takes a group of friends back to the family farm to help. When a deer hunt ends in tragedy, suspicion is directed toward the huntsman, a friend of Nicholas."

This is a great series and the ending makes me hopeful that it will continue. A trifle slow perhaps in the beginning but it picked up speed and barreled towards the exciting ending.

Nicholas and his coterie are fun to read about and he seems to
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one as much as the first two! Nicholas and his friends and family travel to his family's land to help with his cousin with the harvest. There's a new lord in the area who is making all the local people's lives miserable. The first half of the book has a lot of details about medieval farming, which I found fascinating, but it isn't exciting at all. Of course, there is also a murder, and Nicholas, who is a busybody like all amateur sleuths, ends up investigating it.

Jordain is not as
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Continued to really enjoy this, even though the author is teasing us by parking the hero's romantic interest offpage for most of the book. Lots of fascinating detail this time about village life, harvest, the role of the manor and its Lord in the village. Speaking of which, the new master of the manor gets cold-bloodedly shot while out being incompetent in pursuit of deer, and is the classic "murder victim everyone hated and had a motive for". Plus an innocent friend is accused, so Nicolas has t ...more
Anna Furtado
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cindy Woods
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definite five star read!

There us absolutely no doubt in my mind that the writing if Ann Swinfen is exceptional by way if her skill at creating historical novels. The plot here was so enthralling with so many "could be" murderers. The attention to detail of the daily lives of these people in 14th century England is described in great detail so that the reader gets a true feel of the times.
It makes me think of our modern day existence with all its automation, electricity, etc...... I cannot help
William Freeman
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was my third attempt in becoming interested in the stories and the main characters of the Oxford Medieval Mysteries series. I must admit that the first half of this particular book was exceptionally dull and boring. I must admit Ms. Swinfen researched greatly on the ways in which harvesting was performed during this period, but to devote page after page after page on the subject made me want to threw the book against the wall. As for the mystery associated to this third installment, there r ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who loves a good medieval mystery should read this series! I've been listening to the Audible audio version, and they are very well narrated. The stories are interesting, the books are well written and they manage to immerse you in the time (1353) and the place (Oxford) without sounding stilted or 'educational.' The hard life and restrictions people experienced are not glossed over and glamorized, and yet the story doesn't come across as doomy and gloomy either.

I believe these books are
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my third Ann Swinfen book, and I really have enjoyed them all. I appreciate the historical research that comes through in The Tales, as to how day-to-day business and occupations functioned in the past. Seeing the big farm equipment compared with manual harvesting and reaping is a fascinating subject, well explained without being boring. (It makes my desire for an antique millstone even greater!) Understanding what was the king's property v the lord of the manor's property is unique unto ...more
Sarah Hearn
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read the Novice’s Tale and really enjoyed it so was happy to find out there was a third book. The story of Nicholas Elyot and his family travelling back to the family farm to help with the harvest provides a new, deeper perception of him as a family man. While he is there, he discovers that a newly made rich London merchant has bought the local manor. Disliked by everyone, Gilbert Morden is throwing his weight around, demanding all his rights of villeinage, property, and hunting from the vi ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Excellent story, set in and around Oxford, England just a few years after what is now known as the Black Death, it immerses the reader into the time and place without any jarring notes. Harvest time, always a slow time for Oxford booksellers, so Nicholas closes his shop and takes his family and some friends to help his cousin Edmund with the harvest — with so many having died in the plague, help can be hard (or expensive) to find. Even the local lord of the manor and his entire family died. The ...more
This started out so well, and continued so for most of the book. But the ending just fell flat - the denouement very unsatisfying. It's frustrating that the author can't seem to master the art of tying up the loose ends of a good mystery. I will continue the series to find out how the budding romance of Master Nicholas Elyot and Emma Thorgold develops, but I hope the writing gets better eventually. She has some really interesting background in medieval practices in her books, but so far they hav ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is again a few months later. Nicholas hears that his mother is well and that his cousin is having trouble with the harvest. Thus he gathers his friends and family and sets off to help on the old farm. The old lord died during the Plague and the new lord of the manor is an ill mannered merchant who is acting very rudely against the villagers, his neighbors, his employees and anyone really. He ignores ancient rules and rights and tries to force people to do his bidding as his right. With temper ...more
Diana Sandberg
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like these books more and more. The mystery here is less whodunnit than will they get away with it, but no matter. The story moves along smartly, and the characters are wonderful. The political and social realities of a time of enormous dislocation (just subsequent to the Black Death) are here neatly juxtaposed with the depiction of homely life and people struggling to keep some form of normality in place. I imagine people of that time must nearly all have been in a state of what we'd now call ...more
Alissa McCarthy
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this series is absolutely enchanting. Nicholas Elyot is charming; a man who finds great joy in his love for his friends, his children, and his books. Oxford University and the surrounding area is a magical setting, and I agree with others that the insights into how the population forged on following the plague was very interesting. The mystery part was fun, with a neat twist at the end, but I enjoyed the period details; food, clothes, farm work, daily chores to be the engaging part. I li ...more
Hebby Roman
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third book in the series, and it was another excellent read. Unlike the first murder mystery, this one was handled uniquely, coming half-way through the book and with some great buildup. Before that, we get a glimpse into the back-breaking labor and minute detail of living during medieval times and being a yeoman farmer.
To keep interest in the series, Ms. Swinfen moves the action to the country and weaves a plausible tale of life in those times in the country with the excitement of
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love these books. Like the others, this one is well-written, has lovely characters that I care about, and brings to life the English world of the 14th century. It is also a quick read which I appreciate from time to time after trekking through huge multi-volume fantasy/sci fi stories!

As in prior books in the series, the mystery isn't that hard to figure out, but the who isn't as important as the how and the why. I am quite sure that the harvesting of crops was hard work back in the day, but th
Tanya E. B. Harding
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another time installment

I enjoyed this book as much as the first two books in the series. The plot was well thought out. The main protaganist, is a highly honourable man. It is since of honour that leads him to discover the killer of an obnoxious land owner and save a friend.
Th descriptions of the hard times of life during the medieval times are excellent and the characters well developed. I look forward to the next installment.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pastoral mystery

Set in the pastoral plains of England, this one takes us out of Oxford and into the country. The setting provides a nice lavish history of what the common country folk did, and the dynamics of social hierarchy. It breathes life into the character of the story. The mystery was simple and perhaps even a bit predictable, but there was a nice unforeseen twist to give it color. Very enjoyable to read.
c m abbott
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A glimpse of medieval agricultural life with a thrilling hunt at the manor

I had no idea that a hunt in loved so many rules and customs, many of which exist today. The characters are well drawn continuation of the book before in the series with new ones added in this satisfying read.
Ken Hines
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Great read but not as good as the others

I enjoyed this book but not as much as the first 2 of this series. I really like this series but some thing was missing in this book. When I got to Emma showing up I think that was it. If Emma and something more interesting than the murder of a Lord this would have been great.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. It is absolutely engrossing. It is a fantastic story but it also gives a real sense of what life was like on a medieval manor at the time. I love the descriptions of the hunt rituals and the feasts.
I hope this great author intends to write plenty more books in this series because so far I have loved them all.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable period mystery with a lot of focus on ordinary people's lives in the English countryside. This book was not quite up to the quality of the other two, but interesting, and I would certainly look forward to a sequel. There was a lot of "build up" to the story, but the final conflict was too quickly and easily resolved.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book - even though I managed to guess most of the plot before it unravelled. The sense of historical time and place is very well realised compared to many other historical mysteries and the main characters are all well rounded and sympathetic in this series so that watching them interact and grow in each successive book is just important as the whodunnit aspect.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed these books, though I don’t believe I’ll move on to the rest. I like the information about daily life in England during the 1300s, but the mysteries are not really mysteries with such obvious outcomes. So the crime solving feels labored and somewhat dull. The characters are engaging and make the read pleasant enough.
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Play Book Tag: The Huntsman's Tale by Ann Swinfen - 3 stars 2 12 Mar 17, 2018 04:36PM  

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Ann Swinfen spent her childhood partly in England and partly on the east coast of America. She read Classics and Mathematics at Oxford, where she married a fellow undergraduate, the historian David Swinfen. While bringing up their five children and studying for an MSc in Mathematics and a BA and PhD in English Literature, she had a variety of jobs, including university lecturer, translator, freela ...more

Other books in the series

Oxford Medieval Mysteries (6 books)
  • The Bookseller's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries, #1)
  • The Novice's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries, #2)
  • The Merchant's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries, #4)
  • The Troubadour's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries, #5)
  • The Stonemason's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries #6)