Brother Cadfael to the rescue once again.It is nearly Christmas of the year 1138 and all manner of creatures are stirring Abbot Heribert has been summoned to London in no small part because the Abbey did not vigorously support victorious King Stephan during the recent siege of Shrewsbury , leaving the monastic community in the ambitious hands of Prior Robert Before he left Heribert refused to finalize the deed for the manor of Mallilie Gervase Bonel wishes to gift the Abbey with his manor in exchange for supported retirement for himself and wife Prior Robert allows Bonel and household to move into their allotted house on Abbey land after all, it is almost Christmas, and the good Prior is already counting the income from the manor before the deed of gift is finalized What harm can come of bending the rules a bit in the spirit of the season Well, a lot of harm actually Specifically, Master Bonel dies poisoned by something in a dish sent to him from Prior Robert s own kitchen Cadfael is called to treat the dying man and recognizes the poison as one of his own potions However, Cadfael is not a suspect The Sheriff s sergeant quickly decides that Bonel s young stepson Edwin is the culprit and the hue and cry goes out for Edwin s apprehension.We get a nice glimpse into Cadfael s early life as it is revealed the Edwin s mother is none other than the woman Cadfael was betrothed to when they were teens Richildris begs Cadfael for help He agrees for old times sake and the investigation is under way.Edwin is a likable scamp and Cadfael is soon convinced he is innocent But then comes the bigger issues of who did do the poisoning and why and how to keep Edwin out of jail until the actual murderer is caught.By the time all is resolved the reader has been treated to a lesson in Welsh vs English inheritance laws, a cross country chase, some lovely scenes with the members of the monastic community, and the return of Heribert after Christmas.Delightful all around I m sure I read all of the Cadfael books as they were released, but I had forgotten so much I am enjoying my re read project Next up St Peter s Fair. This is a yeoman s work mystery with a middle ages veil draped over it Seriously, Ellis Peters Monk s Hood felt like a throwaway whodunnit set in the medieval period I know these are very popular, popular enough to have a tv series made from them, but I just don t see it The whole thing could ve been done in any setting at any time Being that this is the only book in the Cadfael series I ve read, with no plans on reading at this point, I d be happy to hear from any fans that are willing to vouch for these books Perhaps I grabbed a bad egg Should I have started at the very beginning of the series Does it get better as you go on I m willing to be cajoled I read this for the Murder Most Foul square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.Brother Cadfael has not disappointed me yet In this book, one of his herbal potions is used for evil instead of for good and the Brother feels he must right the wrong caused by his tincture A very young step son is blamed for the murder and since Cadfael is sure the boy is innocent, he pursues the matter all the way to Wales.Cadfael is such a steady, sensible character It s a joy to watch as he methodically put together the pieces, assesses the people involved, and uses his opportunities to solve the mystery, while still managing to mostly obey the rules of the Abbey This situation has probably perturbed him the most because of his reconnection with Richildis, the woman he loved before he went to the Crusades and joined the religious order One poignant scene has him looking at her son and thinking That child could have been mine if I d returned to her This is a very quietly enjoyable series and I will look forward to the next installment with anticipation. In the third of the Brother Cadfael mysteries, one Gervase Bonel leaves his estate to the Abbey in exchange for him and his wife being looked after for life, in the process disinheriting his stepson Not long after moving in, Bonel is killed by poison in a special dish sent out for him by the Abbey and the poison is an oil for joint pain prepared by Brother Cadfael The most of obvious suspect is Bonel s stepson, fifteen year old Edwin Gurney who turns out to be the son of Cadfael s old sweetheart Richildis now married to Bonel , and Cadfael is convinced by his own methods that the boy is innocent There are plenty of disgruntled people in Bonel s household for though never bending the law, he was not above doing things for his own profit but none seems to have a strong enough motive To add to Cadfael s difficulties, Hugh Beringar is away and the case is in the hands of the less sympathetic and rather condescending sheriff Gilbert Prestcote And then Cadfael finds himself confined to the Abbey for his unbecoming conduct in having talked to the widow Bonel at night Meanwhile the Abbey is the midst of its own troubles with Abbot Heribert set to be replaced and Prior Robert taking over before he has even been named successor While Cadfael is confined to the Abbey s precincts for a bit, he is helped by Brother Mark, his young apprentice who is quite glad to go detecting , and even forego prayers in the process.This mystery felt surprisingly gentle and slow considering the urgency of solving the murder and clearing Edwin of the charge, the uncooperative sheriff other impediments he faces from the Abbey, the politically charged atmosphere at the Abbey, and Cadfael s own concern in the matter of his concoction its key ingredient being monk s hood having been used in the murder, and of course, the matter involving Richildis I enjoyed the setting as always, which gives one glimpses into life at the Abbey and its surroundings and a great feel of the period The little excursion that Cadfael makes into Wales was also very enjoyable, particularly the time he spends outdoors with the sheep under the night sky felt lovely and peaceful This was again a winter story ending at Christmas but despite the snow the whole atmosphere never felt as chilly and awful as in the Virgin in the Ice An enjoyable instalment in the series p.s The ending was great fun the comic touch in one scene particularly I have a feeling that this series will be like the The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series for me Every book is solid, they give you the warm, cozy feeling, you enjoy the atmosphere and the immersion into another time and or place, and what can you say I almost feel this series would be stronger without the murder mystery aspect I really enjoy feeling like I m right there in the 12th century, working with Brother Cadfael and his herbs and potions He is a decent man, and the book is kind and wise, but never preachy I enjoy it I always know this is a series I can come to for an entertaining comfort read. Excellent As always, Brother Cadfael s wisdom shines through in this mystery He does not rush to conclusions or believe coincidences but muddles through what clues there are to find the truth And being a Brother, his opinion of the culprit isn t always as harsh as those of the law, compassion playing a large part in his decision.The author does a wonderful job of putting the reader into the 12th century and uses dialogue that might have reflected that time period as well These stories are a wonderful glimpse into a different world and I appreciate the uniqueness of them It is wintertime in Shrewsbury and an unpleasant man is poisoned It takes Cadfael some sleuthing and a trip to Wales to find the culprit and exonerate an innocent suspect What I enjoyed most is the leadership change in the abbey and ci devant abbot Heribert s introduction of his successor The monks have a warming room in the winter where they can spend a little time every day we have central heating Makes me truly grateful.Looking forward to the next one. Another wonderful outing in the series which made me a lover of historical mysteries many years ago, when I first met Cadfael I had forgotten the plots, so rereading the series is like reading each book for the first time.This time, Cadfael is called to administer what aid he can to a dying man Gervase Bonel who has just signed his manor over to Shrewsbury Abbey and moved into retirement on abbey grounds with his household a house, daily meals from the abbey kitchens and stabling for a horse are provided, in exchange for the manor Cadfael is unable to save the man, who has been poisoned, but recognizes the widow as Richildis, the sweetheart of his youth This attachment adds a poignant touch to the mystery, and further fleshes out Cadfael s fascinating life story Richildis was happily married before Master Bonel, and her youngest son had been named heir to Bonel s manor, as he had no legitimate children of his own Bonel was apparently a stubborn, difficult man and fell out with Edwin, his heir and Richildis youngest child Edwin becomes prime suspect in the poisoning murder of his step father.What I loved about these mysteries, and am rediscovering, is the appeal of a much slower pace of life apparent throughout is Cadfael s acceptance of who he is, his vocation, the worth of this contemplative life he has chosen after a lifetime soldiering and sailing around the world, and his humility and decency Nothing surprises him, he truly treasures every day among his herb garden, making potions and remedies to care for his brothers and townsfolk as needed Peters created a wonderful character, and her research and beautifully written stories are full of peace, tranquility and humanity, and provide a satisfying puzzle, as well I enjoyed them when I first read them 20 years ago, and in the current political climate, I find them a balm to my overloaded nerves, and am enjoying getting reacquainted with Cadfael and his world. I really, really liked the book, but I LOVE Cadfael Cadfael gets ten stars These books may be classified as stand alones,but I believe you should read them in order, starting with the second book Why Because it is important to know who each one of the characters really is, their souls, what makes them tick, how they think and behave In book two I came to understand who Beringar was Book three has now taught me, showed me, who Cadfael is I have seen the choices he makes, and I absolutely love him I wish I had had this knowledge before I tackled the later books Personally I think you can skip the first, or go back and read that when you want o fill in lost details because you know you love the whole series.Super narration by Stephen Thorne.One thing I guessed who the murderer was after two or three chapters, but you do not read these books to solve the mystery You read them to be with people you admire and respect You read to see how they will deal with what is thrown in their path The books let you escape into a completely different world Is this why I less often enjoy picking up books set in modern times I really enjoyed this book I do not want to leave Shrewsbury so I will move on to Virgin in the Ice I have read all the books between this and that one. When A Visitor To The Abbey Dies, Brother Cadfael Faces A Personal Drama For Not Only Was The Man Poisoned By Monk S Hood Oil, Made In Cadfael S Own Laboratory, The Dead Man S Widow Is Also The Woman To Whom Cadfael Was Betrothed Before He Took His Vows
Edith Pargeter.Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM was a prolific author of works in many categories, especially history and historical fiction, and was also honoured for her translations of Czech classics she is probably best known for her murder mysteries, both historical and modern Born in the village of Horsehay Shropshire, England , she had Welsh ancestry, and many of her short stories and books both fictional and non fictional were set in Wales and its borderlands.During World War II, she worked in an administrative role in the Women s Royal Naval Service, and received the British Empire Medal BEM.Pargeter wrote under a number of pseudonyms it was under the name Ellis Peters that she wrote the highly popular series of Brother Cadfael medieval mysteries, many of which were made into films for television.
- 210 pages
- Monk's Hood
- Ellis Peters
- 13 February 2017 Ellis Peters