In this, the eleventh of the chronicles, Brother Cadfael has two mysteries on his hands. Who are the two mysterious monks, one dying, one a mute, who have turned up at Shrewsbury Abbey. Second, what happened to a young woman who set out to try her vocation at a nearby convent, accompanied by several men at arms for protection, but never arrived? As usual, the resourceful monk is assisted in his inquiries by the steadfast sheriff, Hugh Beringer, as he untangles both the mysteries.
I buy the Brother Cadfael books when they are on sale for $1.99 because I don’t think they are worth much more than this. There is the usual lovesick couple he helps to put together, and the hours spent sipping from his private stock of wine in his workshop. The problem is that I have been spoiled by Margaret Frazer’s Dame Frevisse/Joliffe the Player novels. I compare all the other medieval murder mysteries to them, and none measure up. For them, I pay full price and begrudge not one cent.