“A Morbid Taste for Bones” by Ellis Peters

This book was a genre pioneer, when first published in 1977, mixing historical fiction with a murder mystery. This the first “chronicle” of Brother Cadfael, a 12th Century monk with a detective bent, whose exploits were recounted in 20 such “chronicles”.

A Morbid Taste for Bones

The prior of Shrewsbury Abbey, envious of other abbeys’ holy relics, embarks on a journey to Wales in the hope of procuring the remains of St Winifred. One of the brothers, Columbanus has a fit and claims to have had a vision from St Winifred, this is taken as a sign by Prior Robert for their quest. Brother Cadfael had been happily tending the Benedictine garden of the abbey but as a Welsh speaker he persuades the Prior to let him accompany the party to Wales to act as a translator, with his assistant Brother John, who could act as a groom to the party’s horses and mules. Despite having the approval of the Bishop of Bangor and the King of Gwynedd, the party from England are met with resistance by the Welsh locals, when it is understood they wish to take their Welsh saint’s remains back to England. One opponent, Rhisiart, proves especially stubborn and the Prior tries unsuccessfully to bribe him. A short while later, Rhisiart is found dead with an arrow sticking out of him. Suspicion falls first on an outlander, Engelard, a refugee from England, where he was wanted for poaching, he had motive, he wanted to marry Sioned, Rhisiart’s daughter but Rhisiart was opposed to her marrying outside the clan. Sioned and Cadfael aren’t convinced of Engelard’s guilt and start investigating.

The “Brother” of Brother Cadfael is dropped after page 41, I guess it sounded too laborious. although the title returns some way through chapter nine. The historical detail seems well researched and authentic and the mystery makes the book a page turner. It is easy to see how this book initiated a series of books using the same monk-detective.

My rating 5 out of 5

Read December 2014

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About jimholroyd365

Hi, my name is Jim, I am an Englishman living in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. I started this blog to share my interests, my photos and to make sense of my world. I take a lot of photographs of various subjects, some of which I intend to share here. I collect diecast cars and get the same thrill at 50 as I did when I was 8, when I find a car I'm searching for, Don't worry, I have a separate blog for this hobby. Please feel free to comment and ask questions on what I blog. I am quite new to this blogging, I was inspired by reading a book, which began as a blog of a London Ambulance Driver: "Blood, Sweat and Tea". I hope my blog will be entertaining and amusing, I did try stand up comedy in the UK and had seven gigs before I left to teach English in Georgia. I love reading and so the blog will include book reviews of books as I finish them.I don't know about which direction this blog will go, I am a great believer in serendipity...let the journey begin...
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One Response to “A Morbid Taste for Bones” by Ellis Peters

  1. Pingback: Books Read in 2014 | jim holroyd 365

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