The jury foreman trembles as he delivers the verdict. After a grueling trial, the erudite and elegant Louis Stevenson has been found guilty of murder—and sentenced to death. A ripple of excitement goes through the courtroom, and Stevenson rises to make a final statement. He’s innocent, he insists, and for condemning him, he swears cosmic vengeance on four men: the prosecutor, the foreman, the judge, and the true killer of Zoë Trevor. On their heads, he places the Assize of the Dying, a medieval curse that ensures they’ll be dead within a month.
In “The Assize of the Dying” and “Aunt Helen,” Ellis Peters is at her best—and murder and elegance go hand in hand.