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Publisher's Summary

In 1137 the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the remains of Saint Winifred for his Benedictine order. Brother Cadfael is part of the expedition sent to her final resting place in Wales, where they find the villagers passionately divided by the Benedictines' offer for the saint's relics.

Canny, wise and all too worldly, Cadfael isn't surprised when this taste for bones leads to bloody murder. The leading opponent to moving the grave has been shot dead with a mysterious arrow, and some say Winifred herself dealt the blow. Brother Cadfael knows that a carnal hand did the killings, but he doesn't know that his plan to unearth a murderer may dig up a case of love and justice, where the wages of sin may be scandal - or his own ruin.

©1984 Ellis Peters (P)2011 Hachette Digital

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dee
  • 04-14-13

A Morbid Taste For Bones

This is my first taste of Ellis Peters, and I have to say I'm enjoying it very much. It is an excellent story and the narrator, Stephen Thorne, gives a rich variety of voices to the characters.

The first of her Brother Cadfael murder mysteries, set in the 12th Century, is based on a true story of the removal of a saint’s relics from a Welsh village to the Benedictine Abbey at Shrewsbury. It might not be a strictly realistic representation of the period, but that doesn’t matter in a novel of this style. It is easy and enjoyable to listen to, and I would recommend it without hesitation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • lesley black
  • 12-11-13

Cadfael at his best

What made the experience of listening to A Morbid Taste For Bones the most enjoyable?

The narration in this book is very good, I especially enjoyed the welsh accents, and the easy listening pace, which lulls you into comfort belying the action taking place.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Morbid Taste For Bones?

The ecstatic trances of the good brother were very well written, especially seen from cadfael's point of view

Which character – as performed by Stephen Thorne – was your favourite?

Cadfael himself was the most memorable character in my opinion

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Who lies there?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fenella
  • 05-04-18

Well done all

This is the first Cadfael Chronicle and gets the series off to a flying start. The characters are all fully-formed and believable, the story is absorbing and historically largely accurate, no anachronisms that I could see. Stephen Thorne narrates it well and makes a very good job of the Welsh accents, I only spotted one mistake in the pronunciation of Welsh words: Peredur should be pronounced Peredeer, not Peredoor. Other than that a first class job all round.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • VCM
  • 11-01-17

Loved the tv show but.....

Probably the awful attempts Welsh accents in this that made it an unbearable listen will return

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bran
  • 10-22-17

great story

I.prefer Derek Jacobi as a narrator but this was.also good. hope Audible stock all of Ellis Peters novels

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Ian P. Sowden
  • 10-18-17

nice ending nice wit nice humour.

Unusual plot told with wit and good humour. I wish the justice shown was real.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 06-15-17

My favourite Cadfael

I’ve listened to this book a few times now, and I find the narrator by far the best of any of those who have read these stories. I like Cadfael to be Welsh, as he was meant to be, not the tame Englishman of the TV series.
Cadfael is a wise man, who has come to the cloister after an eventful life as soldier and sailor, having gathered medical knowledge in the Middle East; it is important to realise that Arab doctors were the most advanced at that time, far ahead of Europeans, still stuck in the mindset of Galen (2nd century AD) and Hippocrates (4th C BC).

The story is a fiction based on the episode of the 1138 translation of the bones of St Winifred from Gwytherin in Wales to Shrewsbury Abbey by the real life Prior Robert. These relics would attract pilgrims and, of course, generate revenue and fame for the Abbey.

The novel assumes that the people of Gwytherin are not inclined to part with the remains of their local saint, especially into English hands, and the negotiations provide the basis of the plot. Cadfael is drafted in to translate, being a native Welsh speaker, and his wisdom and familiarity with both cultures enable him to untangle the dispute and the murder it precipitates in an ingenious way which pleases everyone.

The characters are interesting and varied. Unfortunately the Welsh personnages appear only in this one book, but the monks reoccur frequently in later episodes.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • IAN
  • 06-04-17

One of the best historical mystery series.

In 1137 the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the remains of Saint Winifred for his Benedictine order. Brother Cadfael is part of the expedition sent to her final resting place in Wales, where they find the villagers passionately divided by the Benedictines' offer for the saint's relics.

Canny, wise and all too worldly, Cadfael isn't surprised when this taste for bones leads to bloody murder. The leading opponent to moving the grave has been shot dead with a mysterious arrow, and some say Winifred herself dealt the blow. Brother Cadfael knows that a carnal hand did the killings, but he doesn't know that his plan to unearth a murderer may dig up a case of love and justice, where the wages of sin may be scandal - or his own ruin.

In this book, Ellis Peters introduces her beloved character Brother Cadfael, herbalist to the 12th Century Shrewsbury Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, on the western boarder of England and Wales. A man who was well past his prime when he entered the Benedictine order, and had been, done and seen more than any man in the cloister.

I love this series, it's richly historical settings and the characters Ellis Peters created.

Personally I think this is one of the best historical mystery series about, and well worth reading.

The books are available in all formats, paperback, Kindle/ebook (free to read if you are on Kindle Unlimited at the time of reviewing) and on audiobook.

This is a review on the audio narration by Stephen Thorne, who brings the story to life in his reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wendy
  • 04-04-16

good read/easy listen

As usual a well written Cadfael story which is read well by Stephen Thorne. Easy to listen to.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • G. Glover
  • 04-03-16

A good listen, especially if you like history.

Good if you want a story with interesting customs and history added to the mix. Along with a good detective story of course.

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  • mrsvee
  • 08-25-16

Get correct pronunciations before you start to record.

Impious a that means lacking piety, not taking religion seriously, and the "I" should be pronounced as "pie" NOT "pee" as in "people" . Bad mispronunciations spoil the sense of the story, and these classic stories deserve nothing but the best. Please fix it, if you can.