Keeper at the Shrine

Domnini Highsmith, Author, Domini Highsmith, Author
Domnini Highsmith, Author, Domini Highsmith, Author St. Martin's Press $25.95 (498p) ISBN 978-0-312-13102-9
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Billed as a medieval mystery, Highsmith's (Leonora) saga dwells more on the melodramatic and supernatural than on the murder that occurs. During a fierce storm in 1180, a hooded figure enters the town of Beverley, England, and, inside the Minster Church, cures Simeon, a lame priest, of his affliction while giving him charge of a newborn baby, Peter. At the same time, Father Bernard, hiding from the storm, is killed by Father Cyrus, who covets Bernard's position. After the storm, news of Simon's healing and the baby's appearance spreads, alerting the rapacious clergy who see in Simeon and Peter a threat to their positions. Both Cyrus and the equally power-mad Father Wulfric try to discredit the miracles, suggesting the child is Simeon's. As the town cleans up, Bernard's body is found and murder suspected, prompting Cyrus and Wulfric to continue plotting against saintly Simeon. One-dimensional characters and a lack of suspense mark this lengthy tale as historical melodrama rather than mystery. (May)
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