Renee Vink is the author of several medieval mystery novels and short stories, and of a collection of fantastic stories set in the
Scandinavian Middle Ages. Most of this is in Dutch but one short story was published in an English anthology (see below).
FLORENT V AND THE SCOTTISH THRONE (Dutch title: Floris V en de Schotse
Troon, Conserve, Schoorl, 1995)
When the child-queen Margaret of Scotland dies, thirteen pretenders arise to claim the Scottish crown. One of them is Florent V, count of Holland and Zeeland, a descendant of King William the Lion. In 1292, a succession parliament convenes in Berwick-upon-Tweed on the Scottish border. The Dutch count and most of his rivals, among them the lords Bruce and Balliol travel there to await the judgment of King Edward I of England, to whom the claimants have subjected their case.
To prove his claim, count Florent needs an old charter. Unfortunately,
this seems to have been removed from the Edinburgh treasury, and the messenger
sent to retrieve it is mysteriously murdered. The count's agent, Arnoud
of Ranst, starts a hunt for the missing charter, while his young assistant,
Folkert Crepel, tries to find out who murdered the messenger. They both
succeed, though neither the charter nor the murderer turn out to be what
one would have expected. And in the end the prize, the Scottish crown,
does not go to Holland.
Scottish history from William the Lion to William Wallace.
THE LAST DAYS OF FLORENT V (Dutch title: De laatste dagen van Floris
V, Conserve, Schoorl, 1996)
It is the year 1296. When count Florent V of Holland deserts Edward of England and turns to Edward's arch-rival Philip of France instead, many people have reason to be outraged. One of them, the powerful lord of Cuyck, cuts his feudal ties with the count. When the chaplain who acted as his messenger is poisoned during a Pentecost Mass, even the count's faithful subjects look askance at their lord. Annoyed by this, Florent commands Folkert Crepel, clerk and minstrel, to investigate the affair. This turns out to be highly problematic, and even more so when a daughter of one of the count's malcontent vassals succumbs to the very same poison.
In the mean time, Florent's agent Arnoud of Ranst is to find out what the lord of Cuyck is up to. But the lord of Cuyck is as elusive as the poisoner, and master Arnoud, moreover, has his own reasons to be less zealous than usual. When young Folkert at last manages to unravel the mystery, it is too late to unmask the fatal conspiracy lying at its heart...
On count Florent V and his death
In the predecessor of this 14th century castle the count was kept prisoner.
THE AVENGER OF FLORENT V (Dutch title: De wreker van Floris V,
Conserve, Schoorl, 1997)
In the winter of 1298, Folkert Crepel and his companion Geert arrive in the village of Loenen just in time to rescue a boy who went through the ice. They've also come in time to witness a game in remembrance of the fall of Kronenburg Castle and the gruesome execution of several of the conspirators against the late count of Holland. Geert, eager to whack the ball representing the head of the count's killer, joins the game. But some villagers wonder what he and Folkert are actually doing in Loenen. Are these strangers to be trusted in this place of divided loyalties on the border of two countries at war?
Various misfortunes - disappearance, assault and death - befalling several
village girls, are further reasons for distrust and dismay. The mystery
seems complete when Folkert sees a ghost and Geert causes the `killer's
head' to disappear. When his young companion threatens to become a target
for everyone's wrath Folkert is not only unable to save Geert from being
punished but even adds to his predicament by giving him what he wanted
all the time: revenge for his count.
SHORT STORY in English: A FRAIL YOUNG LIFE, in: Royal Whodunnits. Tales of Right Royal Murder and Mystery, Robinson Publishing (UK) and Carrol & Graf (USA), 1999.
This story investigates the death in 1290 of the seven year old queen of Scotland, Margareta Eiriksdatter, called the Maid of Norway.
A short fragment
Background information concerning this episode (from a Scottish point of view).
A Scottish chronology of the year 1290.
Latest medieval mystery: DEATH OF A KING (Dood van een koning, in : Vier historische zaken, De Boekerij, 2002.) This is about the murder of a adspirant monarch in the Holy Roman Empire. Three different sleuths investigate this, and they don't exactly co-operate.
THE DWARF KING'S RUNES and other stories (Dutch title: De runen van de Dwergenkoning en andere verhalen), Sirius & Siderius, The Hague, 1990. Published under the pseudonym of R. Ditmar.
A collection of fifteen fantastic stories, set in the Scandinavian Middle
Ages (in the post-Viking era). Most of these are composed from medieval
Danish, Norwegian and Swedish dancing ballads, some of which are based
on historic events, while others contain fairy tale elements and saga stuff.
One story is merely historical. A description of the various ballads used
in this book precedes the stories.