Poisoned Pen Press, Feb 3 2015, $14.95
In 1278, Abbess Isabeau of the Mother House Fondevraud Abbey of East Anglia sends her brother Father Etienne Davoir and his retinue to investigate subordinate Tyndal Priory in Norfolk. The first inspection in almost a decade includes besides the normal review, a look into rumors of misconduct amongst the religious members of the Order.
When one of the haughty friar’s clerks Jean becomes ill, Sub-infirmarian Sister Anne realizes he suffers from too much wine. Not long afterward, Jean dies. Father Davoir blames his death on Brother Imbert, but Prioress Eleanor and Sister Anne insist there is no such person. Sister Anne further states she gave instructions and a potion to the man Father Davoir sent to her. Father Davoir calls her a liar, accuses her of murder and furthermore wonders aloud if Prioress Eleanor ordered the kill to hide her sin of carnality. Though he prefers to be with his pregnant mate, the local king’s justice agent Crowner Ralf knows this case is hard because the only suspects are people he cares about: Sister Anne, Prioress Eleanor and his best friend Brother Thomas.
The latest Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas Medieval Mystery (see A Killing Season and Covenant with Hell) is an engaging whodunit with an insightful glimpse at thirteenth century England. The conflict between the regular cast members and the newcomers (mostly Father Davoir and his party) bring tension to Priscilla Royal’s intense historical.