Excellent novel; one of the best in this series by Margaret Frazer. Gives one a pretty good image of life in a small 15th century English village. Build up to the murder also helps personalities of the characters become more revealing.
I didn't get far with this book. I enjoy historical fiction and historical mysteries (e.g., Bro Cadfael) but this author's prose felt precious and pretentious to me. Moved on to another similar series (Lady Susanna and her Face Down murders) with less focus on prose stylings and more focus on character/plotting.
I loved this book. The story is fascinating for anyone who is interested in the history of 15th century England. The author's scholarship shows on every page.
Yet she has drawn believable characters, some of which readers of the Dame Frevisse series have followed all along, others of which we meet here for the 1st or 2nd time. One of the things I love about Frazer is her ability to show real, flawed characters in their best and less good moments. Her characters are not shallow or 2-dimensional; they often hesitate and think things over. Especially the protagonist Frevisse; she is a thinker AND a doer.
Very disappointing, the real “action” only starts way passed half of the book. I managed to read the whole book (although, I confess, I started skipping paragraphs near the end), but the scene where the culprit was discovered, was analyzed, its reasons and modus operandi repeated ad nauseam. Sister Frevisse is constantly considering her own feelings, how she should think—like a novice would have done—and either acting like an individual with lots of power or devoid of it, very contradictory. Mrs. Frazer was a good writer and certainly did a lot of research about that era, but I will stick with the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peter.
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