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An Excellent Mystery Mass Market Paperback – 1986

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin (1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0708828671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0708828670
  • ASIN: B001KTURFI
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,739,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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AUGUST CAME in, that summer of 1141, tawny as a lion and somnolent and purring as a heartside cat. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Open up almost any of Ellis Peters' Cadfael mysteries, and chances are that you'll find a romance circling around the heart of it -- good ones, bad ones, and occasionally weird ones. "An Excellent Mystery: The Eleventh Chronicle of Brother Cadfael" is a solid example of the third kind, centering on a powerful love affair, and the only downside is the occasional stretch of believability.

After the abbey at Winchester is burned down, two new monks arrive at Shrewsbury -- Brother Humilis, a famous ex-crusader, and Brother Fidelis, a mute young boy who follows him and cares for him. It also turns out that Humilis received some truly horrible wounds during the Crusades that are slowly killing him, and have left him basically castrated. Because of his injury, he ended his engagement to a rich young girl named Lady Julian and became a monk.

However, an old friend of his arrives at the abbey and asks for his blessing in wooing Julian... only to find that while her brother says she became a nun, there is no trace of her becoming one. Cadfael is brought into the investigation, with only some pieces of jewelry as the clues to where she has gone -- but it soon becomes clear that one of the monks is more than he appears.

This book ends with a marriage prayer, and honestly that isn't surprising. "An Excellent Mystery" revolves around marriage, thwarted love and how true love can be divorced from sex -- on one hand you have the deep love between Fidelis and Humilis, and on the other you have a bisexual monk's obsessions and with Rhun and Fidelis (which are all about physical attraction and rage, with no actual love).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IP TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 July 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
The perfect companion for all historical fiction enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Brother Cadfael, perceptive and resourceful as ever, takes a secondary role in this story of loyalty, loss and pursuit, hidden sorrows, and deliverance, tightly interwoven with the political upheaval of twelfth-century England. Secrets, as ever, drive the drama, and the secrets in the present instance are more dramatic than most. Even though I guessed the answer halfway through, the answer, in this case, was not a solution, and its unfolding still left much of a tale to be told.

The author is admirably confident of her principal character's ability to sustain a series without having to be in the limelight every moment. This variant on the formulaic earlier novels refreshes the reader's interest and amplifies the development of Cadfael's character. The ongoing tension of civil conflict in the land brings history to life while showing how ordinary people are affected when giants take to the battlefield.

I continue to take pleasure in the author's lyrical and insightful prose style and authoritative command of English. I'm sorry to note that I've passed the halfway mark in the twenty-book Cadfael series and may have to resist the urge to gallop on through, in favor of making what remains last a little longer.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Marriage is the core of this mystery story where things are not what they seem. They never are but, in this case, you have to be surprised. No one would expect this end, mainly because the concept of marriage is so different from today. I believe it is the book by Ellis Peters more difficult to understand by today's standards and so more truly medieval in nature. That only makes it more intriguing.
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By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
An Excellent Mystery is just that, and a very beguiling story to boot. Whilst there is death it's very much a mystery rather than a 'whodunnit', as there are no murders this time. I really like Peters' whole style which, whilst formulaic, happens to be a winning and agreeable formula. The rich tapestry of detail, both of monastic life and the wider historical context is both believable and absorbing.

The story on this occasion, which revolves around the return of a dying crusader-turned-monk (rather like Cadfael then, except in terms of health) and the fate of his formerly affianced and his retainers, is one of romance and emotion, and I found it very moving indeed. I would agree with another reviewer here that the central plot twist stretches credulity, but regardless of that, it's brilliant, being both surprising and just wonderfully enjoyable.
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By Amazon Customer on 27 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love this story, Cadfael himself seems to me to be relegated slightly in favour of other characters but when the lightning hits the tree you just know that he'll be able to solve the "mystery". Just a shame that the missing lady Julian Cruce has a habit of becoming "Julian Grace" on several occasions, unfortunate translation to the kindle eBook.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a completely fanatic about Cadfael. I love these books and it was such a pleasure to reread another one on Kindle. Ellis Peters creates her world in such vivid colour that you really feel as if you are there. Her books are atmospheric and riveting and Cadfael is one of the best detective creations ever. I loved this story.
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