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Sorrow Without End

by Priscilla Royal

      When a man is found stabbed and gutted in the woods with a scimitar sticking out of his chest the finger of suspicion points at a Saracen, or a crusader. Perhaps both can be found at nearby Tyndal Priory, home to the young but capable Prioress Eleanor and the secretive Brother Thomas. As the sick flock to the hospital it is up to Crowner Ralf to find out whodunit, and sort out his other affaires. There are many possible suspects, but one of them is Brother Thomas.

This is the third book in this latest series to be set behind monastery doors, and as ever, there is much to praise. There is plenty of plot crammed into this slim volume, and a properly gritty ambience just in case anybody might think that this is a cozy story. Engrossing though the story is, it is easy enough to guess but this series seems to have decided to go beyond the classic puzzle whodunit and center instead on the characters. Eleanor has to help choose a new prior, and decide which direction she wants her monastery to take. My own favorite plot strand, that of Brother Thomas and his mysterious "tasks" remains tantalisingly out of reach. The rest of the cast have their own part of the whole too, and the book has both the human interest of a soap opera and the realism of a more serious historical work. Throw in a more teasing crime and this series will be up with the best.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
January 2006
Historical Crime [1271, East Anglia UK]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006