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Girl in a Red Tunic [Hardcover]

Alys Clare
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Nov 2005

Richard the Lionheart is still being held hostage after his crusade and his people made paupers by paying the ransom. The Abbess Helewise is struggling to keep the abbey going through a cold, brutal winter fending off starvation of her nuns and the local people.

And then a much-loved person returns to her after nearly twenty years in desperate need of help. Her son. He claims his wife is suffering mental torments and his son is mute. But then a man is found strangled, dangling from a tree near the abbey. The next day her son and his family flee.

Helewise and a local Knight, Josse d' Acquin, must investigate deep into the past to the time before Helewise took the veil. Was her handsome husband and enigmatic father-in-law all that they seemed? And can she prevent another terrible murder or will the sins of the fathers be laid upon her innocent son?

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (7 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340831138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340831137
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 24 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,277,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Proof that a writer of medieval crime fiction can deliver something fresh (The Times)

A worthy heir to Ellis Peters, though grittier, materialises (Poison in the Pen on FORTUNE LIKE THE MOON)

Cunningly shifting sympathies among virtually all the players, Clare spotlights first Helewise, then Josse, in a detecting competition that lifts the partners above their predictable gender roles ... immersing them in a suddenly engrossing tale. (Kirkus Reviews)

A rich and compelling mystery (Tangled Web)

Book Description

'Proof that a writer of medieval crime fiction can deliver something fresh' The Times

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sir Josse Has Mixed Loyalties 23 Aug 2006
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Alys Clare's novels are like a breath of fresh air. I love medieval murder mysteries and there are certainly a lot of them about (thank goodness), but the authors books breathe new life into the period and her will they won't they situation with Helewise and Sir Josse, holds the reader's attention as well. Don't be swayed into thinking that these books are written with the female reader in mind. They are for everybody, young and old, male or female.

Richard the Lionheart is still hostage after the crusades, but his people are struggling to cope with the crippling amount they have had to pay to secure his ransom. Even before the problems with Richard's ransom not all of his subjects were enamoured of the King, who is hardly ever in the country he rules. No wonder his brother John is gathering to him a number of loyal followers.

The Abbess Helewise has the difficult task of keeping her abbey going through the cold and brutal winter, as she tries to fend off starvation of her nuns and the local villagers. Then out of the blue Helewise's son returns to her, a son she has not seen for nearly 20 years. He claims that his wife is suffering mental illness and his son is a mute. He desperately needs help.

But then a man is found strangled and hanging from a tree close by the abbey. Next day her son and his family flee and Sir Josse must investigate and delve into Helewise's past life before she took the veil. Were her husband and father in law all that they seemed?

Can the Abbess prevent even more murder, or will the blame be laid at the door of her innocent son?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Abbess, but not always a nun 12 Mar 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First Sentence: He had to wait until it was dark and everyone was asleep.

Abbess Helewise has been thinking about her life prior to joining the Abbey. She is surprised, yet concerned, when her son Loefgar, shows up with his wife, who looks pale and ill, and their 14-month son, who is unnaturally shy and won't speak. It is a relief to have her good friend, Josse d'Acquin, who had come to the Abbey ill but is recovered, on hand.

When a man, who claims his brother was killed by Leofger in a dispute, is found hanged near the Abbey, Loefgar, and his family, disappear. Helewise fears for her son, and questions how events from the past are impact the present.

The most important element of a book, to me, is the characters. It has always been the characters which have drawn me to this series.

We learn much more about Helewise than in previous books. These were times when an Abbess needn't have been a nun, so it's nice to see her as a woman, learn about her past, and how she came to Hawkenlye Abbey. As always, we see the strength of the friendship between Helewise and Josse.

Not only Helewise and Josse, but all the supporting characters come to life under Ms. Clare's hand, even the ones you don't trust. I do appreciate that we've see a transition in characters, since the beginning of the series. People come and go in life ad Clare handles it in a way which works.

In most of the previous books, there has been a strong element of the metaphysical. I am one who, if done well, enjoys that. It is an element of this book as well, and it works. These were times when, even with the dominance of the Catholic Church, people, including the clergy, were highly superstitious and believed the ancient powers and abilities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good 30 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
stated before that she is extremely good and the stories gripping. This makes you want to investigate the history further.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good buy 19 May 2013
By Lizzums
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this for my dad as I have previously read these novels at a library. He s very much into the Cafael books so I thought he would be interested in them, which he was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 14 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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