cover image The Rose of the World: A Hawkenlye Mystery

The Rose of the World: A Hawkenlye Mystery

Alys Clare. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8023-9

Medieval politics overshadow the crime-solving in Clare's solid 13th Hawkenlye mystery (after 2009's The Joys of My Life). In 1210, England is struggling to adjust to the consequences of Pope Innocent's interdict prohibiting christenings, marriages, and Christian burials, imposed because King John refused to accept the papal choice for the archbishop of Canterbury. The residents of Hawkenlye Abbey, a mixed community of nuns and monks, are doing the best they can under these oppressive circumstances when the disappearance of the former abbess's granddaughter, 11-year-old Rosamund, throws the abbey into turmoil. A desperate and fruitless search for Rosamund through the dense woods turns up the corpse of a man, whose shattered skull could have been the result of an accident or foul play. Clare has done the whodunit aspect better in earlier entries, but her portrayal of the tense mood of the times more than compensates. (Aug.)