Winner of the Carnegie Medal in 1951.
Nicholas Fetterlock is the son of a Cotswold wool merchant in 1493. During the negotiations for his betrothal, Nicholas and his bride-to-be try to find out who is stealing his father's wool and substituting rubbish; this has led to trouble with the Staple, the quasi-legal trade body that governs wool exports. Is it the mysterious bankers from Lombardy, led by the ultra-suave Messer Antonio Bari?
I loved this book when I first read it at the age of nine, I have read it many times since. The final sentence always brings a lump to my throat. It has got an exciting mystery at the heart of it and all the historical colour that you could want. The characters are well-drawn and the pace is perfect (the first real clue is given exactly half way through). A children's classic.
"I'd rather have a devil clad in fiery scales than a devil clad in silk." (Ch 5)
June 2021; 238 pages
Harnett also wrote The Load of Unicorn