Once again Frazer has produced a great mystery with the wonderful characterization and in-depth research that brings the 15th century to life. St. Frideswide's priory has to deal with a prodigal's return, as the apostate nun Sister Cecely, who had run away with a man nine years ago, returns with her bastard son when she has nowhere else to turn. But her protestations of penitence are proven to be lies when her deceased husband's family arrive at the priory demanding the return of deeds she has stolen, as well as custody of her son. The prioress decides to wait for her brother Abbot Gilberd's judgement on the matter; but while awaiting him, one of the guests, the man who was to assist Cecely in escaping once more, is suddenly poisoned. When a second poisoning occurs, Dame Frevisse must race to discover the truth before another attempt is made.
Another vivid and masterful tale, the only reason I gave this 4 1/2 stars rather than 5 is some trace of what appears to be sloppy editing - in Cecely's thoughts there are phrases that keep repeating to the point of annoyance, though it's possibly deliberate on the author's part in showing the character's obsession; there is also another paragraph repeated almost word for word with another character, which make me think that in the rewrite or editing these minor flaws were missed, maybe due to haste? Regardless, the story is another gem in the series, but there is a finality about it the way it ends that makes me uneasy that the author may not write more. I so hope that fear is unfounded, as this is one of my favorites.