One of the earlier Sister Frevisse books, this one finds our intrepid nun called to her dying uncle Thomas Chaucer's household. Unfortunately she arrives too late to bid him farewell, but she stays to help the family with the funeral. One of the guests is an odious, quarrelsome man who delights in tormenting others, and at the feast during an altercation he calls upon God to strike him down if he is in the wrong. To everyone's horror he immediately collapses. Although no one is sorry to be rid of him, Bishop Beaufort suspects it is the hand of man, not God, responsible and instructs Frevisse to discover the truth - a daunting task as there is no lack of people who wished him dead.
Less convoluted than later volumes in the series, the mystery is still clever, the characters finely drawn, the historical background rich in detail, and the book as enjoyable as any of Frazer's work.
Frazers Dame Frevisse is my second favorite medieval series, just behind Brother Cadfael. There's something so calm and capable about the sister whatever happens, she doesn't panic or do anything stupid. She's analytical and knows how to keep her mouth shut. In this outing, she goes to the funeral of her beloved uncle Thomas Chaucer. During the funeral feast, one of the unpleasant nobles there picks a fight and calls out to God to strike him dead if he's wrong; of course, a few minutes later he's having some kind of attack, and dies. The bishop, a relative of Frevisse, doesn't fall for it and asks her to keep an eye out. The method of killing is immediately obvious to the reader (or it ought to be, anyway), the killer a bit less obvious, and the fun comes from watching Frevisse figure it out. You don't need to have read any of the previous books in the series to enjoy this one.