Set in England in 1282, Royal’s superlative 14th medieval mystery (after 2017’s The Proud Sinner) finds Prioress Eleanor traveling to Mynchen Buckland Priory, bearing a gift of money and a sealed letter from her brother, Baron Hugh of Wynethorpe, to a woman she has never met, Prioress Amicia. On arrival, Eleanor and her companions, Brother Thomas and Sister Anne, discover Prioress Amicia imprisoned, having been found guilty of murdering a gossiping widow from the village. When Eleanor talks to Amicia in her cell, she believes Amicia’s claim of innocence. Determined to discover the real killer, the trio must investigate a house of nuns and monks who are variously fearful, furtive, and enraged. Royal meticulously depicts life at Mynchen Buckland, which was a part of the Hospitaller order, its pious mission intertwined with the military efforts of the Crusader knights. She also pays close attention to all three of the visitors-turned-sleuths. Instead of functioning as main-character sidekicks or listening posts, Brother Thomas and Sister Anne use their respective gifts to astutely unravel crucial strands to the mystery, helping to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. Royal shows once again why she stands in the front rank of medieval mystery authors. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2017 Release date: 02/06/2018 Genre: Fiction
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