October, 1195. High-spirited young knights, drunken squires, pickpockets, and horse thieves are pouring into Exeter for a one-day jousting tournament. Not even the discovery of a naked corpse in the River Exe can spoil the excitement. During the tournament, there is a serious altercation between Hugo Peverel, a manor lord from Tiverton, and a Frenchman by the name of Reginald de Charterai. When two days later, Sir Hugo’s blood-soaked body is found in a barn on his estate de Charterai would seem the obvious culprit. But there’s no shortage of people who wished the despised Hugo dead. All three of his brothers have a motive, as do his stepmother and his attractive young widow. And just what is the connection between Sir Hugo’s murder and the battered body in the River Exe? With so many suspects from which to choose, Sir John is confronted with one of the most difficult cases of his distinguished career.