Every Londoner has money worries, and talented artist and some-time sleuth, Seb Foxley, is no exception.
When fellow craftsmen with debts to pay are found dead in the most horrid circumstances, fears escalate. Only Seb can solve the puzzles that baffle the authorities.
Seb’s wayward elder brother, Jude, returns unannounced from Italy with a child-bride upon his arm. Shock turns to dismay when life becomes more complicated and troubles multiply.
From counterfeit coins to deadly darkness in London's worst corners. From mysterious thefts to attacks of murderous intent, Seb finds himself embroiled at every turn. With a royal commission to fulfill and heartache to resolve, can our hero win through against the odds?
Share Seb Foxley’s latest adventures in the filthy streets of medieval London, join in the Midsummer festivities and meet his fellow citizens, both the respectable and the villainous.
Samantha Willcoxson, author & historian:
“Toni Mount is simply brilliant. If you love CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake – and I do – you will love Toni’s Sebastian Foxley. From learning how a 15th-century scrivener created illuminated manuscripts to venturing within the dank tunnels beneath the Tower of London, Toni is an artist who completely immerses the reader in another time and place and always leaves one eager for the next book.”
Stephanie Churchill, author of historical fiction and epic fantasy:
“Leave it to Seb to unravel another international spiderweb of intrigue, betrayal, murder, and deceit. Our flawed, loveable hero has done it again. And at the end of it all, his future is looking brighter than ever. I cannot wait to find out what happens to him next!”
Sharon Bennet Connoly, author, and medieval historian:
“A beautifully crafted mystery that brings the dark, dangerous streets of medieval London to life. Toni Mount is a magician with words, weaving a captivating story in wonderful prose. The Colour of Evil is, to put it simply, a pleasure to read.”
Kathryn Warner, medieval historian and author of numerous books about the fourteenth century, including biographies of Edward II and Isabella of France:
“The ninth instalment of Toni Mount's popular Seb Foxley series is sure to delight Seb's many fans. Mount puts her deep knowledge of late medieval England to good use once again and takes us on another exciting adventure, this time with Seb's older brother Jude, returned from Italy, in tow. Mount's detailed world-building, as always, brings fifteenth-century London to life.”
The Chicken incident (pp.101-104)
At last, the first miniature was completed. I had laboured long. Adam assisted in tidying away my pigments and put them safely in the box. The parchment folios were pressed flat on the collating table ’neath brass weights. Now my cousin and I sat over our last few sips of ale in the kitchen by the light of a solitary candle. Rose and Kate were long since gone to their beds in the chamber above, where little Dickon slept also these days. Nessie had withdrawn to her curtained alcove beside the chimney, taking Grayling the cat with her for company. We could hear her snoring gently but kept our voices low so as not to disturb her.
Gawain was the first to respond to an unaccustomed sound: a scratching noise coming from along the passage to the shop. The dog came alert from his slumbers ’neath the board. He stood facing the passageway, his hackles rising upon his neck and a threatening growl rumbled deep in his chest.
‘You hear that?’ Adam whispered.
I nodded, reaching for a hefty fire-iron on the hearth.
‘Did you bar the door and shutters when we closed up?’
I nodded again.
‘Give me a moment.’ Adam slipped out of the kitchen to the yard, returning with the axe we used to chop kindling for the fire.
Thus armed, we went silently along the passage. I held the candle high in one hand, the iron in the other. Gawain came stealthily, growling, but keeping behind me. On the right, the parlour door stood closed but I lifted the latch and looked in, thankful for well-greased hinges. There was naught amiss.
The next door to the right led into the shop. Nothing untoward was apparent there. I checked the bar on the door to the street. It was firm in its hasps. The shutters were likewise in their proper place.
There came a sudden clatter and a smashing of pottery vessels. The intruder was in our workshop to the left of the passage. I reached for the latch, lifted it and pushed the door wide, the fire-iron raised high.
‘Show yourself!’ I cried. ‘No, no!’
Something burst forth, straight into my face. I swung the iron in defence and felt it hit a target but I dropped the candle, plunging us into darkness. I stumbled back from my unseen assailant and fell on my backside. My heart was pounding fit to break my ribs and something tickled my face, causing me to sneeze.
Gawain tore into the room, courageous of a sudden, barking madly.
Adam was striking tinder and groping on the floor for the candle. When he relit the flame and it steadied, he began to laugh.
‘By the saints! All that for a bloody chicken. You did for it, Seb: broke its neck by the look of it.’ He picked up a sorry bundle of feathers from the floor, pushing Gawain aside when he would have it. More feathers floated around. ‘A chicken dinner for us tomorrow.’
I clambered to my feet, wiping feathers from my mouth and nose, sneezing again.
‘Must be Caldicott’s birds have escaped again.’ I spat out more filaments of feathers. ‘It must have come in afore I closed up and wandered into the workshop... then was unable to get out.’
‘His loss is our gain. Seems only right, Seb, after the consternation and trouble it’s caused us. Look at the smashed pots! ’Tis fortunate it didn’t break any precious pigments but the pounce and sand have made a mess indeed.’
‘We can clean it up in the morn,’ I said, turning as Rose and Kate appeared in the doorway, clad in their night robes.
‘We’ll all help,’ Rose said. ‘But you’re bleeding, Seb.’ She wiped my forehead with soft fingers.
‘Am I? The bird came at me; aiming its beak straight at mine eyes. Mayhap, I be fortunate it pierced my forehead and did not blind me.’ I felt chilled and shaken of a sudden and slumped upon the nearest stool.
‘We heard Gawain making such a din; thought we were to be attacked in our beds.’
‘Aye, our great protector...’ I fondled Gawain’s soft ears. ‘Our brave knight be naught but a silly coward. Be that not so, Gawain, you foolish creature?’
‘Come back to the kitchen,’ Rose said, taking charge of the situation. ‘I’ll make mulled ale for us all and for you a possett as a restorative and put some salve on that cut. It looks sore.’
In truth, I hardly felt the hurt, for the present, leastwise, but I was most certainly shaken. Though I dared not admit to it, knowing Adam would laugh right heartily at me, if I did, I had been much affrighted by that wretched bird and was all unsteady.
A possett cup of hot milk, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg, whipped together to a froth, settled me well enough.
Toni Mount earned her Master’s Degree by completing original research into a unique 15th-century medical manuscript. She is the author of several successful non-fiction books including the number one bestseller, Everyday Life in Medieval England, which reflects her detailed knowledge of the lives of ordinary people in the Middle Ages. Toni’s enthusiastic understanding of the period allows her to create accurate, atmospheric settings and realistic characters for her Sebastian Foxley medieval murder mysteries. Toni’s first career was as a scientist and this brings an extra dimension to her novels. It also led to her new biography of Sir Isaac Newton. She writes regularly for both The Richard III Society and The Tudor Society and is a major contributor of online courses to MedievalCourses.com. As well as writing, Toni teaches history to adults, coordinates a creative writing group, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.
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