Gervase Bonel, with his wife and servants, is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he is suddenly taken ill. Luckily, the Abbey boasts the services of clever and kindly Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist. Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted by two very different surprises. In Master Bonel's wife, the good monk recognises Richildis, whom he loved many years ago before he took his vows. And Master Bonel has been fatally poisoned by a dose of deadly monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's herbarium. The Sheriff is convinced that the murderer is Richildis' son Edwin, who had reasons aplenty to hate his stepfather. But Cadfael, guided in part by his tender concern for a woman to whom he was once betrothed, is certain of her son's innocence. Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder....
©1980 Ellis Peters (P)2011 Hachette Digital
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 more 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.
Great culture, great history of Cadfael and Remigus, (the Woman) Larriping good story
and excellent ending. Prior Robert and Borther Jerome in the thick of things. A repeater.
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