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review 2017-06-16 22:36
One Corpse Too Many / Ellis Peters
One Corpse Too Many - Ellis Peters

An ingenious killer disposes of a strangled corpse on a battlefield. Brother Cadfael discovers the body, and must then piece together disparate clues--including a girl in boy's clothing, a missing treasure and a single flower--to expose a murderer's black heart.

 

"The trouble with me, he thought unhappily, is that I have been about the world long enough to know that God's plans for us, however infallibly good, may not take the form we expect and demand."

Brother Cadfael, that former military man in a monk’s robe, knows his onions….and his murder victims and fugitives! When a murderer dumps his victim amongst the bodies of those hung for treason, Cadfael is not willing to let the perpetrator get away scot-free. Dragged away from his garden and his herbal potions, the good Brother must search for justice, but not interfere in politics.

I so enjoy the time period and setting of this particular series! I also appreciate the non-gory nature of the mysteries and the slower pacing more suited to the historical period depicted. Sure, there are pressures to solve the murder, but Cadfael has the time and thinking space in his garden to put the facts together and come up with a logical argument. He has both his military experience and his monastic learning to draw on, a formidable combination.

But it is Cadfael’s common sense and knowledge of human behaviour that makes him a good detective—and his willingness to admit that sometimes his monastic duties will need to be set aside if justice is to be done. A good man to have on your side!

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review 2017-06-01 11:44
A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael, #1)
A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters

Well, of course I liked it - mom is never wrong about mysteries.  The writing is great, which allows the story to go at a slower pace without being deadly dull.

 

Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk in medieval England and has come late to the cloistered, monastic life after a youth spent adventuring.  Content, he still allows himself to be recruited for a trip to Wales as official translator, on a quest to bring back the bones of a saint.  Receiving the consent of both the bishop and the prince it does't occur to monks that perhaps the village housing St. Winifred's bones might not be inclined to let her go.

 

The resulting murder was plotted well and the resolution kind of fiendish, really. Where is plotting like this nowadays?  I thoroughly like Brother Cadfael for his pragmatic outlook and intelligence.

 

My only quibble with the book is the errors in the catechism, but I'm left unsure whether Peters did this on purpose or out of ignorance. Saints aren't worshipped, they aren't to be revered; they're meant to serve as roll models and to offer intercession on behalf of one who asks for it.  As someone who has been called an idolator, I'm a little sensitive on this point.  I'm inclined to believe Peters did this knowingly, as there are at least two points in the story where the Welsh priest gently clarifies the difference, but the overriding narrative does nothing to definitively correct this misconception.

 

Putting this aside though, the book was good, more than good enough to make me want to read the next one.

 

 

 

 

Total Pages:  192

$$:  2.00

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text 2017-05-31 07:24
BookLikes-opoly: Turn 17 (May 30th)
A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters

 

This puts me on space #31:

I've got this weird aversion to reading books that have carnivals or circus' in them so I went the PIXAR route.  This turned out less easy than I imagined.  MT wanted me to make it as hard on myself as possible and insisted I pick a book that started with either P or X for the challenge, but when I hit the stacks, I was hard pressed to find any letters in PIXAR; my first TBR range (or as Tannat and I decided, the first TBR black hole) only yielded one title that started with "A" and I wasn't in the mood for it.  So I (time) travelled over to my other TBR pile/blackhole that has historical mysteries and found two: one that started with A again, and one that started with I:  A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters  and I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira.  

 

I went with A Morbid Taste for Bones, both because it's been on my TBR the longest of the two and because my mom loves Brother Cadfael and I, the daughter that abandoned her for the other side of the planet, can score bonus points with her once I tell her I've read it.

 

A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters Brother Cadfael travels to the remote Welsh mountain village of Gwytherin in order to acquire the relics of St. Winifred and finds himself in the middle of a bizarre mystery when the leading opponent to moving the bones is murdered.

 

Total pages: 192

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review 2017-04-25 16:46
A Morbid Taste for Bones / Ellis Peters
A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters

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 wordly, 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.

 

I am quite sure that I used to own a copy of this novel, back in the early 1980s. I finally donated it because I just couldn’t get into the story. Now, I look back at my younger self and shake my head, because this time around I found the story to be very accessible and very easy to engage. Another instance of the right book at the right time—not suitable for me in my 20s, but eminently suitable for me in my 50s.

I think that Brother Cadfael will become an old friend—I will certainly be reading the next book of the series! In my opinion, Peters transplants the murder mystery genre into medieval times extremely well. She gives Brother Cadfael common sense and logic to work with, plus a good dose of human psychology. How he deals with the Church hierarchy and the other Brothers feels very real and is often amusing.

The action begins slowly—the reader must be patient as Peters builds the story towards the murder, but after that, the action is unabated until the final resolution. This story is quite different from the forensic-based murder mysteries that crowd today’s shelves, but that very difference recommends it. Not exactly a cozy mystery, but a gentler one. No gore or psychopaths to deal with here.

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text 2017-04-20 19:29
Current stack from the public library
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson,Linda Lear,Edward O. Wilson
Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters
Paranormalcy - Kiersten White
Snake Agent - Liz Williams
Spook Street (Slough House) - Mick Herron
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
A Beautiful Truth - Colin McAdam
A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters

Its a good thing that I have a relatively unscheduled weekend coming up!  I've got a friend coming over to help me haul an old, old TV out of the house & off to recycling.  Then I've got to take a couple of boxes of books to the used book store.  Anything they don't want will go to the Calgary Reads book sale in May, to support literacy in the community.

 

Spring cleaning and spring reading.

 

 

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