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In a mild December in the year of our Lord 1141, a new priest comes to the parishoners of the Foregate outside the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Father Ailnoth brings with him a housekeeper and her nephew- and a disposition that invites murder. Brother Cadfael quickly sees that Father Ailnoth is a harsh man who behaves like a doom-saying raven. The housekeeper's nephew, Benet, is quite different, a smiling lad, a hard worker in Cadfael's herb garden but, as Brother Cadfael soon discovers, an impostor. And when Ailnoth is found drowned, suspicion falls on Benet, though many in the Foregate had cause to want the priest dead. Now Brother Cadfael is gathering clues along with his medicinals to treat a case of unholy passions, tragic politics, and perhaps divine intervention.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780751517408
ISBN-10: 0751517402
Format: Paperback
(180mm x 115mm x 19mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Sphere
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 1-Feb-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Brother Cadfael, herbalist-sleuth at Shrewsbury's Benedictine monastery in the 12th century (The Devil's Novice, etc., etc.), is dismayed by the cold, unforgiving nature of Father Ailnoth, the new parish priest of the Foregate. In fact, Ailnoth's short time in office has made him so feared and hated that there's no mourning when his body is pulled from the mill pond on Christmas morning. Ailnoth had come from Westminster, now restored, along with most of the country, to King Stephen, accompanied by a widowed housekeeper and her young nephew, Ninian, who is apprenticed to Cadfael and soon wins his trust and affection. Ninian's guileless indiscretion soon reveals him as an ardent fighter for Empress Maud, the King's archenemy, now regrouping her forces in Wales, and he finds an ally in beautiful Sanan Bernieres. In hiding from Sheriff Hugh Beingar's halfhearted search and accused by some of Ailnoth's murder, Ninian is then set free to join his Empress by the unexpected result of a trap set by Gadfael and the Sheriff. Rather thin plotting for Peters - otherwise, her usual mix of lively period detail, three-dimensional characters and easy-flowing narrative. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Ellis Peters

Ellis Peters is one of the pseudonyms of Edith Pargeter who wrote several books under her own name and also Peter Benedict, Jolyon Carr and John Redfern. She was the recipient of the Crime Writers Association and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. She died in 1995.

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