by Ellis Peters
In this third Brother Cadfael book, the brothers at the Benedictine Abbey at Shrewsbury are in a state of uncertainty. Their Father Abbot has been called to a meeting, and there is a strong possibility that he will return without the authority with which he is leaving. Meantime, he feels that he must leave several pieces of business unfinished, for the new Abbot may not have the same inclinations as the old. One of these items is the acceptance of an estate in exchange for the life-long care of the current owner and his wife. When this man dies before that charter can be signed, it is up to Cadfael to determine whether or not the obvious suspect is actually the murderer.
One of the things that I love about these books is the rich background Peters provides. Between these books and Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, I am quite intrigued by Wales and Welsh culture, if for no other reason than every time I see Welsh names, they seem to include an impossible combination of letters. This story also includes a meeting between Cadfael and the fiancee of his youth, providing us with more insight into the character that is Cadfael.
You’ll notice that this book cover is from the television series. I only saw a few episodes, but it was actually a decent rendition. However, these books are so full of characters and conversations, that, to me, the television version felt a bit abrupt and confusing if you weren’t already familiar with the story. But it’s been a super long time since I watched, so I could be completely wrong.
Anyway, 5/5 for Cadfael.