Friday, April 24, 2009

The Raven in the Foregate - Ellis Peters

the raven in the foregate
ellis peters
c. 1986
216 pages
completed 4/21/2009

read for: brother cadfael chronicles

*may contain spoilers*

This is book twelve in the Brother Cadfael mysteries. Set in 1141, this series takes place in medieval England during the civil between King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Maude. In this book, Father Adam, a kindly parish priest, passes away. Abbot Radulfus, the head of Shrewsbury Abbey, appoints Father Ailnoth, a former clerk of Bishop Henry, to fill the position. Father Ailnoth looks good on paper, he is scholarly and well versed in Latin, but he is completely lacking in human compassion and immediately alienates and ostracizes his parishioners, making enemies at every turn. Then he turns up dead, drowned in the mill pond with a blow to the back of the head, as Hugh Berringer, the acting sheriff of Shropshire, is called away to spend Christmas with the King and hopefully be confirmed in office. Add to the mix the news that two spies for the Empress Maude may be loose in the county, one of whom may have been unknowingly brought to the abbey as a groom by Father Ailnoth himself, and the deputy sheriff has no idea where to begin to uncover the culprit.

(In case anyone is wondering, I am trying to add a little more plot synopsis into my reviews instead of just diving in.)

This addition to the series went back to the tried and true formula that had been missing from the previous two. Cadfael was the one who discovered the dead body, Cadfael discussed the mystery with Radulfus, the deputy sheriff, and then Hugh upon his return, and it was Cadfael who inevitably solved the mystery. Yea for Cadfael!

I love it when they reference past books and characters. We got to briefly hear about Brother John, one of Cadfael's assistants before he left the order to marry a Welsh girl (seen in A Morbid Taste for Bones). And we got to get a little update on Godith Adeney and Torold Blund who were seen and helped by Cadfael in One Corpse Too Many. They have since gotten married. And it's nice to know Torold is still running around Shrewsbury doing secret missions for the Empress.

For this particular installment, the conclusion of the murder (or lack there of) was a bit of a downer. A bit anti-climactic. Up until that point everything was very exciting, but the actually conclusion itself was a bit of a let down. I had all sorts of wild conspiracy theories going on, but in the


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