The Rose Rent Author:Ellis Peters When Judith Perle graciously offers to rent her cottage and garden to the abbey in Shrewsbury for the price of a single rose per annum, no one suspects that any harm will come of such a benign arrangement. There are those, however, who believe Judith Perle should never have given away her partimony so rashly. — For three years the abbey entrusts... more » the delivery of the rose rent - always due by the twenty-send day of June - to Brother Eluric. But this year he will not live to discharge his duty; Judith Perle's garden will be cruelly savaged by Eluric's murderer, and the rosebush itself, along with its precious cargo, will be nearly destroyed by the same intruder. More mysteriously, Judity Perle will simply vanish - four days before the rose rent is due.
Who, Brother Cadfael wonders,standsto gain from the automatic annulment of Judith Perle's contract with the Abbey? A bevy of suitors immediately comes to mind, everyone of whom would rather marry the whole of her wealth than merely half, for Judith's dowry will become that much greater if the house in the monks' foregate reverts to her. When another corpse shows up, Cadfael plunges ahead with a twisty investigation that will unmask a most unlikely killer. But for Judith Perle, a young widow who dearly loved her husband, the brutal events of the spring of 1142 will unearth more than treachery and greed: Niall Bronzesmith, who has come to her erstwhile property as the abbey tenant,will play a surpriseing and gratifying role in her new life.
Cadfael himself is never more appealing than in this drama, the thirteenth in a series of medieval suspense novels that feature the Benedictine monk. As a sleuth he is unrivaled in contenporary crime writing for both sagacity and grace; a former Crusader and man of the world, Cadfael is now an accomplished herbalist whose lively intelligence and keen powers of observation provide him with the tools to unearth scoundrels and to exhume deep mysteries.« less