✰✰✰½ Follow the Chief Fool of Toulouse through the twists and turns of this engaging medieval mystery. In the 8th installment of the Fools' Guild Mysteries, the fool Theophilos or Theo (a.k.a. Tan Pierre) and his family are still living in Toulouse. Count Raimon VI is the current ruler of Toulouse and favored by the guild.
When a stranger from Paris, called Baudoin, shows up proclaiming to be the Count's long lost brother, things start to get interesting. As Baudoin's claims are being looked into, Baudoin is found sleeping next to a dead prostitute in a bordello. Baudoin steadfastly insists that he is innocent and beseeches Theo to clear his name.
Only the fools Theo and his clever wife, Claudia, are crafty enough to get to the bottom of things. With the help of their apprentice, Helga, the fools must hurry to uncover the truth before a condemned man is hanged.
The Bottom Line: This highly entertaining mystery gives readers a peek into the live of jesters who did more than just entertain. It is told from the first person point of view of not one, but two, characters: Theo and Claudia. Author Alan Gordon includes fascinating historical details that make the characters and era come alive. Although this is the 8th book in the series, I was able to delve into it without feeling lost. It would be helpful, however, if a glossary were included. In sum, Theo and his family make for fun weekend reading for mystery buffs who want to try something new.
Details: The Parisian Prodigal by Alan Gordon. Hardcover published by Minotaur Books in 2010. 336 p. ISBN: 978-0-312-38414-2