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review 2017-02-08 00:36
The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman
The Queen's Man: A Medieval Mystery - Sharon Kay Penman

Series: Justin de Quincy #1


This mediaeval mystery got off to a slow start for me. Justin de Quincy is tasked by the Queen to find the murderer of a goldsmith who had been carrying a letter for her.  I spent most of the book thinking it was entertaining but not great, so when some of the characters’ motivations turned out to be not as straightforward as had been implied, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the resolution of the murder and I quite liked Nell too. Oh, and I adored Shadow.


I hadn’t read Sharon Kay Penman before, so I guess my to-read list has just gotten longer. Sigh.


This was the More Historal than Fiction bookclub’s February pick.

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text 2017-02-05 02:19
Reading progress update: I've read 12%.
The Queen's Man: A Medieval Mystery - Sharon Kay Penman

I thought this started a bit slow, with the whole temper tantrum scene that didn't show our hero to advantage, but now the plot thickens, as they say...


Reading this for the More Historical Than Fiction bookclub.

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review 2016-05-20 00:21
Wine of Violence
Wine of Violence: A Medieval Mystery #1: An Historical Mystery (Medieval Mysteries) - Priscilla Royal

I don't usually write two reviews in one day (sometimes, alas, not two in a week!), but today reading has been more comfortable on my eyes than a lot of other activities, so here's a second review.


Wine of Violence is a historical mystery, set in 1270.  Tyndal Priory, a "double house" (one with both nuns and monks), has just acquired a new prioress; unlike many other religious houses, in this order (a French order, of Fontevrauld) the prioress, rather than the prior, is in charge overall.  And their new prioress, Eleanor of Wynethorpe, is only 20 - Henry III owed her father a favor.


The other nuns are not overjoyed to have a new, very young prioress, especially Sister Ruth, the nun elected by the sisters of the priory, before Henry III overruled them.  They are truly distressed when Father Rupert, their confessor, is murdered shortly after Eleanor's arrival.


This results in the arrival of a new priest, Father Thomas, who is not a happy man; he was given a choice between being burnt at the stake for sodomy, or of taking holy orders and doing the secret work of men high in power in the church. 


He chose to live, and is now investigating vague reports of misdeeds at Tyndal.  Like a monk being murdered.


Our two narrators are Eleanor and Thomas, and about in equal amounts.  The mystery was competently done, with plenty of red herrings, and the historical fiction aspect was not neglected, either.


I'd happily read another book in this series, which I believe is still in publication.

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review 2016-01-07 00:00
Land of Shadows: A Medieval Mystery
Land of Shadows: A Medieval Mystery - Pr... Land of Shadows: A Medieval Mystery - Priscilla Royal I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Medieval Mystery series is currently one of my favorite mystery series. The author manages to write with a consistency I find extremely appealing. There was one novel that fell well below my expectations but the overall quality of the books in this series is quite good. This latest addition to the series does not disappoint.

Part of what I find so appealing about this series are the characters. The exclusion of Crowner Ralf from this novel was a tiny letdown. Prioress Eleanor continues to grow and it seems her feelings toward Brother Thomas have finally calmed to the point where they are no longer a distraction, not only to Eleanor but also the reader.

With this novel, I felt the author did an excellent job capturing the attitude of the era towards the Jewish population in England. Baron Adam's death scene was on the most beautifully written scenes I have read in a long time.

I look forward to the future adventures of Prioress Eleanor, Brother Thomas, and the community of Tyndale.
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review 2015-05-05 00:00
Wine of Violence: A Medieval Mystery (Medieval Mysteries (Poisoned Pen Paperback))
Wine of Violence: A Medieval Mystery (Medieval Mysteries (Poisoned Pen Paperback)) - Priscilla Royal Short and to the point. The mystery occurred and then it was solved. Nothing was drawn out and over thought. The author did a brilliant job developing characters in a minimal amount of pages.
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