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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Travel Back in Time with Medieval Mysteries

Posted by Joyce D.

I first fell in love with the concept and characters in the Sister Fidelma Series and then over time discovered these other series. They are set in different countries and give you an interesting glimpse into what it would be like to live in a different time. I also found it fascinating to get a glimpse of the Catholic Religion as practiced in Medieval times.  

Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne (Sister Fidelma Series)
In A.D. 664, King Oswy of Northumbria has convened a synod at Whitby to hear debate between the Roman and Celtic Christian churches and decide which shall be granted primacy in his kingdom. At stake is much more than a few disputed points of ritual; Oswy's decision could affect the survival of either church in the Saxon kingdoms. When the Abbess Etain, a leading speaker for the Celtic church, is found murdered, suspicion falls upon the Roman faction. In order to diffuse the tensions that threaten to erupt into civil war, Oswy turns to Sister Fidelma of the Celtic Church (Irish and an advocate for the Brehon Court) and Brother Eadulf of the Roman church (from east Anglia and of a family of hereditary magistrates) to find the killer. But as further murders occur and a treasonous plot against Oswy matures, Fidelma and Eadulf soon find themselves running out of time.

A Trust Betrayed by Candace Robb (Margaret Kerr Series)
It is Scotland, in the spring of 1297, and Margaret Kerr's merchant husband, Roger, has been missing since winter. Though he originally set out for trading purposes, Margaret now worries that he may have been caught up in the rebellion against the English -- or may have been killed. Roger's cousin Jack travels to Edinburgh seeking news of the missing merchant, but his body is returned home bearing wounds that could not be self-inflicted. Now Margaret sets out in search of her husband and the truth about Jack's death. The journey takes her to British-occupied Edinburgh, where Margaret's uncle reluctantly agrees to let her stay at his inn. As the two become part of the perilous activities, they risk endangering his clandestine war-time work.

The Apothecary Rose by Candace Robb (Owen Archer Series)
Once the king's captain of archers, now he must penetrate a poisoner's secrets...
Christmastide, 1363-and, at an abbey in York, two pilgrims die mysteriously dead of an herbal remedy. Suspicious, the Archbishop sends for Owen Archer, a Welshman with the charm of the devil, who's lost one eye to the wars in France and must make a new career as an honest spy.
Masquerading as an apprentice to Apothecary Nicholas Wilton, whose shop dispensed the fatal potion, Owen's dark curls, leather eyepatch and gold earring intrigue Wilton's wife. But is this lovely woman a murderess? and what links the Wiltons to bumbling Brother Wulfstan, ascetic Archdeacon Anselm and his weaselly agent Potter Digby, and the ragged midwife Magda the Riverwoman? Answers as slippery as the frozen cobblestones draw Owen into a dangerous drama of old scandals and tragedies, obsession and unholy love...

Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael)
In the remote Welsh mountain village of Gwytherin lies the grave of Saint Winifred. Now, in 1137, the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the sacred remains for his Benedictine order. Native Welshman Brother Cadfael is sent on the expedition to translate and finds the rustic villagers of Gwytherin passionately divided by the Benedictine's offer for the saint's relics. Canny, wise, and all too worldly, he 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 held the bow. Brother Cadfael knows a carnal hand did the killing. 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 Cadfael's own ruin.

The Novice's Tale by Margaret Frazer (Dame Frevisee Series)
In the fair autumn of Our Lord's grace 1431, the nuns of England's St. Frideswide's prepare for the simply ceremonies in which the saintly novice Thomasine will take her holy vows. But their quiet lives of beauty and prayer are thrown into chaos by the merciless arrival of Lady Ermentrude Fenner and her retinue of lusty men, sinful women, and baying hounds. The hard-drinking dowager even keeps a pet monkey for her amusement. She demands wine, a feast...
And her niece, the angelic Thomasine. The lady desires to enrich herself and her reputation by arranging a marriage for the devout novice. She cares nothing for the panic and despair she leaves behind her. But all her cruel and cunning schemes are brought to a sudden end with strange and most unnatural murder. 
As suspicious eyes turn on the pious Thomasine, it falls to Sister Frevisse, hosteler of the priory and amateur detective, to unravel the webs of unholy passion and dark intrigue that entangle the novice and prove her innocence... or condemn her.

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