Series: Brother Cadfael
Age Range: Young Teens+
Period: 12th C
Gervase Bonel dies of poisoning before an agreement to hand his manor over to Shrewsbury Abbey can be ratified. Suspicion falls on his 15-year-old stepson, Edwin, who stands to gain the manor. Brother Cadfael learns that Edwin is not the murderer, helps him to hide, strives to establish his innocence, and inadvertently unearths the real murderer.
As a detective story, fair to middling; knowing Ellis Peters' style, it's not too difficult to work out whodunnit. As ever with Brother Cadfael stories, the enjoyment lies in the characters and the virtues and vices they evince. The discovery that Gervase's widow is an old flame of Cadfael from before his crusading days is handled sensibly. A nice point is made towards the end when the murderer wants to “confess” to Brother Cadfael, and while the monk hears him out, and offers a “penance”, he stresses that he is no priest, and cannot give absolution, and that the murderer must confess to a priest as soon as possible - which he does.
Tuesday 1st January 2002