In the spring of 1145 a precious reliquary is stolen from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul at Shrewsbury and the question arises : Was the theft for profit, or a Holy one? Brother Cadfael, a monk with a bent for sleuthing, turns his mind to the problem-but before the answer is found, a young man is brutally murdered and the finger of suspicion points to a gifted you g musician who is, perhaps, using the Church for his own purpose.
If you haven't read about Brother Cadfael's medieval detective work this one would make a good start. A young, seemingly naive monk, a ribald French troubadour, a girl with a beautiful singing voice, rising flood waters, the disappearance of the abbey's beloved relics, and murder all mix together to make holy mayhem.
Monks from another abbey and a troubadour and his servants are visiting the abbey in Shrewbury when the bones of St. Winifred, its patron saint, are stolen. Brother Cadfael must locate them before a long-held secret is revealed about them that would be embarrassing for him. Then the murders begin . . . . This medieval mystery series continues as Brother Cadfael identifies and pursues each clue in this unusual and entertaining story. Precise words accurately describe the period, and they can usually be understood in context. It will be easy for teens to like the clerical sleuth because of his delightful charm and keen wit. Although religious, he is not sanctimonious.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW
Mary Anne M. reviewed The Holy Thief (Brother Cadfael, Bk 19) on
Ellis Peters is one of the finest writers ever. Her imagery of medieval England, and her character development are not to be found very often today. I find all of the Brother Cadfael books to be excellent.
"Twelfth-century Shropshire comes vividly alive when peopled with Peter's aristocratic ladies, sturdy lawmen, eager squires, and above all, devout
& devious monks, " states Publisher's Weekly. "The remarkable Peters... continues to charm her leigon of loyal reader with her serie featuring Brother Cadfael, the medieval monk who wears the cowl of a Benedictine monk, but who would be equally at ease in Holmes'deerstalker cap," says the Buffalo News. While the Los Angeles Daily News reports, "These are full-bodied novels that capture not just the spirit of the age, but also the temperments of a widely diverse cast of characters. And it is all done within the contx of a good mystery plot."
Ah, the adventures of Brother Cadfael continue as he encounters a French troubadour and a girl whose voice is so pure it compared to an angel. Then a flood threatens the bones of the Saint Winifred. Of course, there is a murder and the bones of the saint disappear. Are the two incidents connected? It's up to Brother Cadfael to investigate both and find out. Can the murderer be apprehended and the bones recovered? This is another delightful adventurous mystery with Brother Cadfael who has the where with all to solve it all. A delightful read.
I have never met a Brother Cadfael book I didn't really enjoy!
This mystery is representative of the entire series, depicting Brother Cadfael as a good, down-to-earth compassionate medieval monk who is a whiz at solving mysteries, and who understands that only God has the right to make judgment calls.
His enormous experience, both a a member of his monastery, as well, as his many years before that, serve him well.
Ellis Peters makes the history of the times come alive.