cover image Murder in the Cloister

Murder in the Cloister

Tania Bayard. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8945-4

Set in 1399, Bayard’s enjoyable fourth Christine de Pizan mystery (after 2020’s In the Company of Fools) finds the Parisian scribe summoned to the presence of Charles VI, who went mad seven years earlier and appears “emaciated and slov-enly dressed.” A young nun has been found stabbed to death at the Dominican priory of Poissy, and Christine must solve the crime, quickly and discreetly. Because the king’s daughter is housed there and the king’s aunt is the prioress, any scandal would be disastrous for the royal family. But Christine soon learns there’s plenty of tension simmering at the priory, and not all the nuns wish to stay. Moreover, rumors of a sorcerer’s apprentice practicing dark arts in the nearby forest might have basis in fact. The sparring between the independent Christine and Henri Le Picart, the misogynist courtier sent to accompany her on her quest, is a highlight. A good pace and well-researched descriptive detail make up for a surfeit of characters, many of whom are provoked to stamp their feet. Bayard invests this historical series with original flair. Agent: Josh Getzler, HG Agency. (Apr.)