Monk's-Hood : The Third Chronicle of Brother Cadfael Paperback
by Ellis Peters
Part of the The Cadfael Chronicles series
Gervase Bonel, with his wife and servants, is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he is suddenly taken ill.
Luckily, the Abbey boasts the services of clever and kindly Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist.
Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted by two very different surprises.
In Master Bonel's wife, the good monk recognises Richildis, whom he loved many years ago before he took his vows. And Master Bonel has been fatally poisoned by a dose of deadly monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's herbarium.
The Sheriff is convinced that the murderer is Richildis' son Edwin, who had reasons aplenty to hate his stepfather.
But Cadfael, guided in part by his tender concern for a woman to whom he was once betrothed, is certain of her son's innocence.
Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 01/04/2010
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780751543773
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Review by markatread
The Brother Caefael series never disappoints; the historical aspect always adds to the enjoyment, the subtle humor is always welcome and the characters in the story are always engaging. The plot this time is better than at other times and everything except Cadfael's decision regarding the killer flows out of everything we have already learned about not just Cadfael but about the whole Abbey at Shrewsbury. In fact that is the strength of the Bother Cadfael series. The reader does not just come to know Bother Cadfael, but comes to know all of the monks at the Abbey as the series progresses. Many of the best mystery series have recurring characters that become our friends and we enjoy reading about them in each new book in the series. It is not just the main character that we come to know and identify with but come to know and care about all the other characters as well. In fact , the characters often times come to be like a small family within the sereis. But in the Brother Cadfael series the author, Ellis Peters, has all the monks of the Abbey to draw from and what the reader gets is not just a sense of family throughout the series but a sense of a whole community as well. It is somewhat odd that a female author, Ellis Peters, would choose to write about a communtiy of men in which there is going to be little or no romance for most of them throughout the sereis. But what Peters does get and uses repeatedly to great effect is the moral implications of what is occurring in the story that she is telling. Some of these moments are small such as when Cadfael is admonished by Prior Roberts for his relationship with the newly widowed Mrs. Bonel. The Prior then bans Cadfael from leaving the abbey until Mistress Bonel has moved and the temptation of the relationship is removed. Having taken a vow of obedience, Cadfael must live by the mandate of Prior Roberts though it severely restricts his ability to find the real murderer, "Vows of obedience, voluntarily taken, cannot be discarded whenever they become inconvenient."The larger moral issue that has even greater impact on the story and helps to identify the person that Cadfael really is comes when he confronts the killer. Cadfael not only must discover who the killer is but then he must understand not only the psychology that is underlying the killers actions, but also understand the moral core of the killer. Cadfael sets up a test to show both the killer and himself what the true moral nature of the killer is. Cadfael makes decisions based on what he percieves the killers moral center to be and those decisions are not the ones that the legal authorities would have made. But by having her detective as a monk, Ellis Peters gets to do this and confront the morality of humans instead of just looking at the crime and the solving of the crime.