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Veil of Lies: A Medieval Noir
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Veil of Lies: A Medieval Noir (Crispin Guest Medieval Noir #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,285 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
"A great read, through and through. Westerson's finely wrought portrait of gritty Medieval London is embued with great wit and poignancy. Crispin Guest is a knight to remember." -- Cornelia Read, author of A Field of Darkness, on Veil of Lies.

Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight, stripped of his rank and his honor - but left with his life - for plotting against Richard II.
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Minotaur Books
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Okay I admit it, the cover drew me in. Seriously what's not to love about the hot medieval guy with long hair and a sword? I don't know who he is, but I certainly wouldn't kick him out of my bed unless he had lice. Having said that, it was the blurb made me buy and I am SO glad I did. Being a fan of Ellis Peters and Sharon Kay Penman, I've been looking for something in this genre and through a twist of fate (or being bored on GR), I found it. Veil of Lies: A Medieval Noir is what you'd get if Co ...more
This is the first in a series about Crispin Guest, a disgraced knight, who is now working as a finder, the Tracker he is called; someone who discovers culprits or things people have lost. Living in rather abject poverty, he remains scrupulously honest, insisting that his self-appointed servant, Jack, return purses he has picked. Crispin had unfortunately allied himself with the Lancastrians when Richard II became king and his conduct being considered treasonous lost everything except his life, t ...more
Carol Evans
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical, bc-rg
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a “medieval noir,” but I do have a fondness for historical mysteries and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Now I know little to nothing about London in 1384, so I’m not going to comment on the historical accuracy. I will say that the setting felt real to me, was an integral part of the story. London is a dark, grimy, dangerous place, if you’re not one of the upper class.

Crispin is the sexy detective, but with a medieval outlook. He’s the character the book re
Andrew Hiller
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lot of fun. It features a medieval gum shoe named Crispin Guest who is hired to track a merchant's wife, but then there's murder, international intrigue, and even a touch of Christian magic in the form of a holy relic. I really gobbled it up which is what you want from a book like this.

There were twists aplenty, but also familiar tropes from the likes of Raymond Chandler. Our disgraced and de-titled knight has an uneasy relationship with the Sheriff, he gets and loses the girl, a
The mystery plot was interesting, and the medieval setting was a nice change of pace for me. Crispin Guest was a thoroughly unlikeable snob, though. The man's angst over his reduced social status made him feel less like a medieval Sam Spade than the kind of person that a medieval Sam Spade would punch in the face.

If I hadn't read the afterword, I'd never have associated this book with the hardboiled detective stories that helped to inspire it. Purely on a story level, the comparisons are clear.
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Ms Westerson's debut in a genre dubbed Medieval Noir, Crispin Guest, a former knight who has lost everything due to an ill-advised foray into treason and now struggles to make a living as a 'watcher', is hired by a wealthy, eccentric merchant to investigate the possibility that the merchant's nubile wife is an adulteress. What seems at first to be a mundane and quick way for Crispin to make some money quickly twists into a murder case with no obvious culprit or motive, and a frantic search fo ...more
Nov 13, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this one about 30 pages and then skipped ahead to see if the answer to the locked-room mystery was ingenious. It wasn't. The prose is self-conscious and over-written, the characters and situations are cliches. Someone (even more of an officious snob than I am) had "helpfully" gone through the library copy and commented on the anachronisms, some of which were innocent enough not to have bothered me. But with my to-read pile as tall as it is, this one won't take up any more of my time.
I don't exactly know why this didn't grab me, but it didn't and I did not finish it.

I had a bit of an issue with Crispin being still so bitter about losing his position in the aristocracy. After eight years I think you have to get past the fact that you are no longer part of the hoi polloi, especially when it was your own treason that caused your fall. It got on my nerves that Crispin still feels like he is better than most of the people he comes in contact with and his tendency to look down on
3.49 stars.

There is a lot about this book I really enjoyed. The author describes it as Medieval Noir (so hard-boiled detective story set in 1384) and that alone caught my attention. The history is really well done. I liked the descriptions of London and the characters.

I loved the protag – Crispin Guest. He’s a tortured hero, a disgraced knight. He’s good with his fist, his knife, and his brains. The secondary characters were well done as well. I especially liked Crispin’s servant Jack.

The story
Peejay Who Once Was Minsma
A very entertaining read. Ms. Westerson has taken the Raymond Chandler noir detective idea of a detective-knight with his own quixotic but unshakable moral code and a weakness for damsels in distress quite literally. Crispin Guest really is a disgraced knight, stripped of all rank and privilege because of crossing King Richard II. Now living on the margins of society, Crispin keeps himself from starving (barely) by working as a Tracker—usually of lost goods—and constantly running afoul of the la ...more
Beth Camp
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Westerson makes this tale of a dispossessed knight set in medieval London, scrambling to make ends meet, quite an engaging and well-written read. The historical settings ring true, the characters are fascinating as much for their action as for their inner conflicts. Expect a bit of a love story and insight into the political wrangling from an outsider's view. At 273 pages, this is a bit of a quick read, but I'm ready for book 2 in the series.Veil of Lies
Veil of Lies is one of the most enjoyable mystery stories I've read in a long time! The character development was excellent, the main character, Crispin Guest, was sympathetic and sexy, the damsel in distress was beautiful and tough, and the story was full of action. This book was a layer cake of mysteries, sure to appeal to fans of paranormal mysteries, murder mysteries, spy thrillers, and noir. This was just a good, strong, entertaining story, driven by really good characters. Lots of fun!
Anita Clenney
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sherlock Holmes and Monk, make room for Crispin Guest. He's a medieval investigator who was once a knight but now has lost everything and must rely on only his wits to survive. With his sidekick, Jack Tucker, Crispin exposes plots and solves mysteries that extend to the throne. Jeri Westerson does an excellent job of telling this story and her descriptions are so vivid you can almost smell the streets where Crispin roams.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Well, here it is fellow readers : Veil of Lies is not only a great mystery,it is also a great adventure and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment of the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series. If you like the idea of knights, ladies and lords of the realm thrown together with the street urchins and bandits of Medieval London then Jeri Westerson's historical novel with spying, and intrigue will engage you to the very end!
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I "met" Jeri through Sister in Crime when she mentioned her latest release. Being one of those people who has to read in order I went out and picked up Veil of Lies. In her afterward she talks about what Hammett would have done in a medieval mystery. She does a fabulous job of doing just that. Crispin Guest definitely grows on you.
Marielle Authier
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
*** ...more
Ana T.
In London of 1384, Crispin Guest is a man adrift in a rigidly defined society. Left with only his life, he’s a disgraced knight, convicted of treason, stripped of his rank and his honor for plotting against Richard II. Having lost his patron and his friends, with no trade to support him, Crispin has turned to the one thing he still has--his wits--to scrape a living on the mean streets of London.

Crispin is called to the compound of a reclusive merchant who suspects his wife of infidelity and want
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

VEIL OF LIES: A MEDIEVAL NOIR is the first book in a series by Jeri Westerson. Crispin Guest is a man without a place in the rigidly stratified world of England in 1384. Crispin had been the protege of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, uncle of King Richard II. He had been knighted when he was 18 but an accusation of treason had cost his his lands, his money, and his knighthood. In need of an income, Crispin becomes the Tracker, the man who uses the fighting skills he learned as he moved through
Joan Szechtman
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VEIL OF LIES by Jeri Westerson
Published 2008 by St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York

Veil of Lies: A Medieval Noir is Jeri Westerson’s debut novel featuring Crispin Guest; a medieval tec of the Sam Spade ilk. Originally from nobility with land, wealth, and a promising future, he loses it all to a rash and treasonous act against King Richard II. Although lucky to be alive, he was degraded and left with nothing but the clothes on his back.

Though literate, Crispin doesn’t have the skills for most employm
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Crispin Guest stripped out of all his wealth and status eight years ago when he committed an unsuccessful treason to Richard II. Now, years afterward he was still mopping and whining about his lost in the poor London street and slum.

As he lost his land, therefore his income along with his nobility, he was forced to rely on one thing that he hasn't lost, his brain. He became the tracker. He'll find missing things that his clients want for fees. Though it burns him with shame to do honest living
VEIL OF LIES (Hist. Mys-Crispin Guest-England-1384) – G+
Westerson, Jeri – 1st in series
St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780312379773

First Sentence (Personally, I think this is a terrible first sentence): The rain didn’t bother him, even though London’s rain fell thicker and harsher than country rain. (LJ- WHAT?)

Crispin Guest, a disposed knight, is hired by Master Walcote, a wool merchant, to find out whether his wife is being unfaithful. When Walcote is murdered, his wife hired
Kathy Jund
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Veil of Truth

Veil of Lies is the first installment in Jeri Westerson’s medieval mystery series featuring Crispin Guest, a disgraced knight now turned private investigator long before the elusive named profession was ever coined!
Venture back to 1384 England, Crispin Guest was once raised in the home of the Duke of Lancaster, once thought to be his protégé and as such followed at the Duke’s side into court under Prince Edward. At the death of Prince Edward, Crispin believed Lancaster; uncle to the
Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight, stripped of his rank and his honor - but left with his life - for plotting against Richard II.  Having lost his bethrothed, his friends, his patrons and his position in society...With no trade to support him and no family willing to acknowledge him, Crispin has turned to the one thing he still has - his wits - to scrape a living together on the mean streets of London.  In 1383, Guest is called to the compound of a merchant - a reclusive mercer who suspects th ...more
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
Almost, but not quite 4 stars

There are three things that attracted me to this "medieval noir": I already liked author's writing (through her gay mystery-lite Skyler Foxe series), I am a fan of Shakespeare's Henriad and the book is set during Richard II's rule and Crispin grew up in the household of Henry of Bolingbroke - future Henry IV and, well, it's medieval noir, for vera icon's sake!

I liked Crispin, though he does himself no favors when he holds himself above the commoners he is forced to l
Evan Gonzalez
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because my dad picked it out for me, and I read the back and liked the plot. Crispin Guest is a former knight living on the streets in 14th century England. Crispin gets a job from a wealthy cloth merchant to follow his wife whom he believes is cheating on him. When he finds out that the merchant is dead, he has to find the killer, but could it be the merchant's beautiful wife? My favorite quote is "He had thought that burning the cloth would remove the truth. But it was never ...more
Blair Hodgkinson
I was expecting to enjoy this book, but I was surprised by how far it exceeded my expectations. It promises "medieval noir" and successfully transplants many elements of the modern detective novel to 14th century London without feeling forced or faked. Crispin Guest, disgraced Knight turned "tracker", is a medieval Sam Spade, as likely to fall foul of the law as the murderers and criminals he hunts and all while struggling to pay the rent and get the girl... a girl who invariably has her own dar ...more
Jayne dArcy
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Mystery buffs, with the warning that there is too much modern attitude
What should have been a four-star rating descended to what would be a two-and a half-star rating, if possible. Since it's not, I rounded up, based on the excellent start and premise of this book, rather than the chaos of multiple fights, stabbings and completely unnecessary and detailed violence that studded the last 80 or so pages.
I see by the author's note that she actually intended for this book to have a modern, hard-boiled edge to it. Unfortunately, that just doesn't work in trying to evok
Lucy Crowe
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Medieval noir! What a wonderful idea, and I am so thrilled to see that "Veil of Lies" is the first in a series, so I can keep reading. Okay, if you think "medieval noir" is something of a misnomer, I urge you to read this right away. Westerson has successfully bridged the two worlds, and her knight of old, Crispin Guest, is almost certainly a direct ancestor to Sam Spade. I loved this character - he is everything you would expect of a hard-boiled detective, with the perfect cynical shell hiding ...more
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Los Angeles native JERI WESTERSON is the author of ten Crispin Guest Medieval Noir novels, a series nominated for 12 national awards from the Agatha to the Shamus. Her first in the series, Veil of Lies was named Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society Review, her third The Demon’s Parchment received a coveted starred review by Library Journal, and her sixth, Shadow of the Alchemist, was na ...more
More about Jeri Westerson...

Other Books in the Series

Crispin Guest Medieval Noir (10 books)
  • Serpent in the Thorns (Crispin Guest, #2)
  • The Demon's Parchment (Crispin Guest, #3)
  • Troubled Bones (Crispin Guest, #4)
  • Blood Lance (Crispin Guest, #5)
  • Shadow of the Alchemist (Crispin Guest, #6)
  • Cup of Blood (Crispin Guest #7)
  • The Silence of Stones (Crispin Guest, #8)
  • A Maiden Weeping (Crispin Guest, #9)
  • Season of Blood (Crispin Guest Medieval Noir #10)