There is a series of these books (I think I’ve already covered one of them) all basically containing short mysteries written by authors who specialize in different parts of the Medieval era. Each story/mystery revolves around a common theme or idea. In this book, all the stories center on a relic – a piece of the true cross. Oh, and a murder or two. Or are they? (Murders, that is).
The relic starts out in Jerusalem in 1100, during the Crusades. It makes its way to Devonshire in 1194; thence to Oxford in 1269; Lincolnshire in 1323; Cambridge in 1353; London during the 1600s; and ending up in London in 2005. A pretty long lifespan for a shard of wood. A potentially murderous shard of wood.
The thing with the shard is this: does it drive people to murder, or is it just the cause of freak accidental deaths? You see, back during the Crusades, the Muslim man who was guarding the shard was murdered by the Christian invaders, so he cursed the shard. Touch it, and die when it leaves your possession.
This series is pretty entertaining, some of the writers are better than others, some of the concepts are more interesting than others. But either way, the books are quick, easy and fun reads, with just a hint of education.