I’m delighted to report that Prof. Eric Jager of the UCLA English Department will be guest-blogging next week about his new book, “Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris.”

I very much enjoyed Prof. Jager’s earlier book, The Last Duel, about the last judicial trial by combat authorized by the French central government, in 1386. Both books are thoroughly researched, but are also page-turners. “The Last Duel,” for instance, had friendship gone sour; combat to the death; a complaining witness — the wife of one of the combatants, who had accused the other of rape — who would face immediate burning at the stake, on the grounds that she had been proved a perjurer, if her husband and champion was defeated; and a battle scene that was shocking even to me, after all the battle scenes I’ve read about and watched in movies.

In any event, here’s the summary of Blood Royal, which I’m also reading right now and very much enjoying:

On a chilly November night in 1407, Louis of Orleans was murdered by a band of masked men. The crime stunned and paralyzed France since Louis had often ruled in place of his brother King Charles, who had gone mad. As panic seized Paris, an investigation began. In charge was the Provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, the city’s chief law enforcement officer — and one of history’s first detectives. As de Tignonville began to investigate, he realized that his hunt for the truth was much more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.

A rich portrait of a distant world, Blood Royal is a gripping story of conspiracy, crime and an increasingly desperate hunt for the truth. And in Guillaume de Tignonville, we have an unforgettable detective for the ages, a classic gumshoe for a cobblestoned era.

Kirkus Reviews writes, “Few works of fiction will grab readers’ attention as well as Jager’s … riveting story of a 1407 murder mystery that split the royal family of France.” I very much look forward to Prof. Jager’s visit!