Monk's Hood

The Third Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
Narrated by: Patrick Tull
Series: Brother Cadfael, Book 3
Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (337 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When a fatal draught of Monk's Hood turns up in the dinner plate of a guest at the Shrewsbury abbey, fingers point at half a dozen likely suspects, including an abashed and bewildered Cadfael.
©1980 Ellis Peters (P)1991 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Pure pleasure ... Peters' stories have everything - colorful monks, touching young love, marvelous atmosphere, a fascinating and complex detective, and most important of all, ingenious puzzles." ( The Armchair Detective)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Series Hits Its Stride

The early books (at least chronicles 1-5) in the Brother Cadfael series are a must for anyone who enjoys historical murder mysteries. Indeed, Ellis Peters pioneered the genre, now littered with many such series covering almost all periods of history and just about every continent (no Antarctic sleuths yet, that I know of).

I think Monk's Hood, the "third chronicle," is the book in which this series really hit its stride. The mystery itself is sound and has a unique resolution that may sadden some. The revelations from Cadfael's past expand the hero's character, and the "monastic politics," as exemplified by Prior Robert and his lackey Brother Jerome, lend spice to the action.

I decided to try the Patrick Tull narration for this one. I've listened to a couple of the books read by Stephen Thorne, who I find to be competent but dull, and one by Derick Jacobi, whose voice for some reason seems wrong (it's probably me, I'm afraid Sir Derick will never be anyone but Emperor Claudius to me). I wavered between finding Tull's delivery painfully slow (his renditions of any book are always much longer than other readers' presentations of the same material) and thinking it eminently suitable to the setting and character of the story. I'll have to give Johanna Ward a try next.

I'm not sure whether the number of "Caedfaelic" narrators available to choose from is a testament to the enduring popularity of this series or to liberal copyright availability; probably a bit of both, and it's nice to have the variety.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

In Monk's Hood, someone is poisoned by the misuse of one of Brother Cadfael???s preparations, so our medieval detective is well-motivated to find out who. Cadfael is a bit handicapped by not having Hugh Beringar in charge of the investigation, by Prior Robert being in charge of the abbey in the abbot's absence, and we get to enjoy the fun, including listening to one of Brother Jerome???s smarmiest, most unctuous little speeches, this time directed toward Cadfael. Personally, I wanted to go kick the weaselly Jerome (and I apologize to the four-footed furbearing animal!) right in the butt. Differences between English and Welsh law and customs are a significant part of the story.

I had forgotten how good the story is, and Patrick Tull has now become my favorite narrator of the Cadfael chronicles.



3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Listen

This is a very good story and the narrators Welsh accent is well done, but very understandable.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Highly Recommend!

Where does Monk's Hood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is one of the best historical mystery series (in general) that I know of. This particular book is one of the best so far. First in series I've listened to. I've read some, and watched many on TV--with Derek Jacobi playing the part of Cadfael. Any way I encounter this series I have loved. But this is the first time I've heard it read. And I'd like to say that the narrator was wonderful. I believe a different reader could have spoiled the entire experience. Characters are well-drawn, by the end of the book I felt as if they were each a clear individual--with his/her own place in the twelfth century world of England & Wales (set in and near Shrewsbury Abbey).

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, Cadfael is always my favorite--he is rich with his own history of having lived in the secular world--indeed even having fought in the Crusades--before becoming a monk. So he is gifted with uncommon insight into the minds and hearts of people, and uses that ability to sleuth the crimes. In this book, his compassion in one part of the book, toward the end, probably is what makes this book so outstanding.

Which character – as performed by Patrick Tull – was your favorite?

All of them. Patrick Tull was the perfect narrator. I especially loved his rendition of Cadfael himself. But he makes each person have a unique (and memorable) voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, one scene toward the end, in which Cadfael sensitively works to resolve the crime in a surprising manner.

Any additional comments?

The series is wonderful, this reading of this book is one I'd listen to again, just because I so enjoyed the narration (and I rarely re-read mysteries).

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love Brother Cadfael!

Wonderfully well-wrought story, beautifully well read. Classic historical
mystery set in 12th century England and Wales.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Okay but not the best Cadfael

This isn't my favorite Cadfael story. It's fine, but there were places that the story dragged a bit, and I was able to guess the guilty party fairly early on. In this story, an older land holder, who had recently married a widow, was about to give his estate to Cadfael's abbey in exchange for the abbey providing them housing and food for the rest of their lives. The land holder is murdered and Cadfael must find out who did it. The widow's son, who was being disenfranchised by the transfer of the land to the abbey is the prime suspect. In the end, pretty much everything that can turn out well does. We do learn some important background information about Cadfael and are introduced to some new and important characters, so this book is an important one in the series. A word on Patrick Tull as narrator. I have compared him to the other Cadfael narrators and he is clearly the best, but unfortunately he is the best of a relatively bad bunch. I am not a fan of Patrick Tull's narrating style and have noticed that when he narrates a book, the book runs typically 15% longer than when the same book is narrated by someone else. Tull has a very slow style of reading, but he is not uniformly slow so I will have to go in and adjust the playback speed multiple times. Normally I set Tull to 1.25x speed, but for this book, I put him at 1.5x in places.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good listen

I read this series years ago and now am enjoying listening to it. Patrick Tull is awesome as a reader

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A good story

If you can stand the l-o-n-g historical lead-in, this is a great story!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Why too slow of a story.

It had an interesting story but way too drawn out . Hard to keep interested.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Very well done historiacal mystery. One of the better noveels in the series.