In the autumn of 1282 England is at war again with Wales. Prioress Eleanor, Brother Thomas, Sister Anne have fled the Marcher lands with her brother Robert’s family for the safety of the English border. Soon they find themselves pressed into investigating a murder of the village priest. A witness asserts that the murderer is the ghost of man who he hung, twice.
With deft writing and vivid descriptions, Priscilla Royal brings the medieval era to life. The plot, the setting, and the characters combine to make this a well-crafted and quite engrossing mystery. The mystery is a knotty one. Loosely based on historical events, I found it very intriguing. The storylines are woven together to give you a sense of native biases and religious superstitions of the times; as well as the personal struggles of the characters.
The characters are strongly drawn with all too human imperfections. Each struggles silently with what they believe to be their sins, while at the same time doing what they see as their duty. While, as always, I enjoyed seeing Prioress Eleanor, Brother Thomas, and Sister Anne, it was several of the secondary characters who captured my attention. Characters such as Mistress Berta, Bardolph, and Maud the Bawd who are on the periphery of society, yet the author imbues them with warmth and sincerity.
Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the advance reader copy made available for my review.