St. Mary's nunnery is a place of prayer and healing for women--so it is surprising to see a man sprawled out in the cloister garden. Dead. Less surprising, to Dame Frevisse, was the identity of the victim. Master Montfort was not particularly liked by anyone in the town of Goring--even his own wife and clerk. As royal escheator, he was trying to settle a heated inheritance dispute between a wealthy woman and her supposed nephew.
Now Dame Frevisse must step in and untangle the fortunes and felonies in this complicated case of political and familial rivalries. But her real challenge is to put aside her feelings and serve justice for the murder of an unjust man.
Edgar-nominee Frazer delivers another well-wrought tale of intrigue and murder in her 11th novel (after 2001's The Squire's Tale) to feature nun and amateur sleuth Dame Frevisse. Here our heroine travels with the prioress of St. Frideswide's priory to the town of Goring, where on arrival they learn that Master Montfort has been murdered in the cloister garden of St. Mary's. (The jacket art nicely depicts the scene of the crime.) Montfort's son asks for Frevisse's aid in finding the murderer, which proves no easy task. Montfort, escheater assigned to settle a dispute over the inheritance of certain properties, wasn't liked by anyone, including his wife and clerk. Delving into the relationships of those connected to the victim and those involved in the inheritance dispute, Frevisse uncovers a complex case. Another death brings all the suspects together for a dramatic and surprising conclusion. As usual, Frazer vividly recreates the medieval world through meticulous attention to historical detail. From spectacles to wimples, to the kidney dagger that killed Montfort and the Goring river ferry now replaced by a bridge, she exhibits remarkable scholarship. The story, like others in the series, alternates between the points-of-view of Frevisse and the title character, here Master John Gruesby, the mild-mannered clerk whose security rests in his ink pots and papers. While some may find the evolution of the plot slow, history aficionados will delight in every page and committed fans will rejoice that the devout yet human Dame Frevisse is back.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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December 02, 2002
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