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Monk's Hood (Cadfael Chronicles) [Paperback]

Ellis Peters
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 May 1994 The Cadfael Chronicles
Gervase Bonel, with his wife and servants, is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he is suddenly taken ill. Luckily, the Abbey boasts the services of the clever and kindly Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist. Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted by two very different surprises. In Master Bonel's wife, he good monk recognises Richildis, whom he loved many years ago before he took his vows, and Master Bonel has been fatallly poisoned by a dose of deadly monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's herbarium. The Sherrif is convinced that the murdered is Richildis' son Edwin, who had reasons aplenty to hate his stepfather. But Cadfael, guided in part by his tender concern for a woman to whom he was once betrothed, is certain of her son's innocence. Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (19 May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075151103X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751511031
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 949,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A more attractive and preposessing detective would be hard to find -Sunday Times

Book Description

Past misdeeds find present and deadly reckonings in the third chronicle of Brother Cadfael, Ellis Peters' marvellously created medieval detective. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
On this particular morning at the beginning of December, in the year 1138, Brother Cadfael came to chapter in tranquility of mind, prepared to be tolerant even towards the dull, pedestrian reading of Brother Francis, and long-winded legal haverings of Brother Benedict the sacristan. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A Very Unlikely Poisoner" 16 Sep 2010
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the third instalment of the Cadfael series, written in 1980. It's now December 1138 and we swap the besieged town of Shrewsbury that was the centre of action in `One Corpse Too Many' for a Shrewsbury in peacetime. "It was a better world than it had looked in the spring, and an ending that improves on its beginning is always good news."

Monk's-hood is a poison, otherwise known as wolfsbane, which hints at the type of murder involved in this instalment. Without giving too much of the plot away, circumstances point to the murderer being a fourteen-year-old boy, but Cadfael considers that, "A hot-tempered, proud, affronted boy seemed to him a possible suspect had Bonel [the victim] been struck down with a fist or even dagger, but a very unlikely poisoner"; a poisoner's temperament is "secret, dark and bitter."

This Cadfael tale also has interesting complications arising when English and Welsh law meet over the question of inheritance.

As usual, Ellis Peters guides the narrative well in a good naturalistic style and natural justice runs its course at the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 21 Feb 2014
By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Edith Pargeter, or Ellis Peter as she is here, was a master storyteller, and the pleasure I get from reading her books - only the Cadfael chronicles so far (but I'll certainly check out her other writing in the fullness of time) - is very like the pleasure listening to Nigel North playing John Dowland's lute music gives me. And that is: always comfortably familiar, masterfully executed, and both uplifting and pleasurable.

When writing under her Ellis Peters name, Pargeter always weaves a beautifully beguiling and very believable medieval tapestry, in this instance centred around a poisoning. If you know the world of Cadfael - this was actually the third story in the series (but I came to it at random) - certain already familiar characters return, such as his chum, the affable deputy-sheriff Hugh Beringar, and the serenely self-satisfied prior Robert and his lackey Jerome. Between them Peters' characters present all the facets of human nature, admittedly perhaps in simplified form, but nevertheless in a satisfying manner.

The story-line is, as ever, expertly wrought, and the pacing, the detail and atmosphere characteristically plausible. My pleasure reading these books has been such as to lead my wife and I to explore Shrewsbury. It was fun. But in terms of effort and expense the Cadfael books are a more cost-effective pleasure! Cadfael himself is a great creation (as, come to think of it, is Ellis Peters!), and in this superb story he gets to exercise all his usual admirable qualities. His dignity and humanity, wit and forbearance, clarity and generosity, always ensure a good outcome, and, in my experience, often a very moving one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased 8 Mar 2013
By Lorna
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brought this for my Nan for Christmas and it arrived on time with no damage.

My Nan was very happy :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL AS IT SHOULD BE 26 April 2011
The third Cadfael novel. It is still 1138, Shrewsbury calmer now no longer the battleground between King Stephen and Empress Maud. The Abbey is without its gentle, aged Abbot Heribert - he summoned to London and almost certainly to be relieved of his post. Prior Robert deputizes - undoubtedly efficient, but ambitious and without warmth. A sudden death in one of the Abbey's guesthouses causes concern and embarrassment. Monk's-Hood is to blame, the ointment produced by Cadfael used to poison a partridge. Murder! Instantly the hunt is on for the victim's stepson Edwin, the two having just quarrelled. Edwin really the culprit? Cadfael is not so sure....

As ever, the novel delights - the humour, there in the first book, less so in the second, now more in evidence. Admittedly readers on this occasion may be ahead of Cadfael in identifying the killer but are far less likely to anticipate what happens after guilt is proved.

A particular strength is the characterization. Edwin and kindred spirit Edwy are fun. Cadfael himself is shown in a new light - unexpectedly faced with his great love of forty two years earlier. Especially appealing is his young assistant Brother Mark - gawky and shy when with others but blossoming under Cadfael's guidance, now a chatty source of interesting gossip and with a crucial part to play. Aloof Prior Robert, so cold and demanding, proves a formidable presence - aided and abetted by odious talebearing sycophant Brother Jerome. Even minor characters come over strongly - as when in Wales for the novel's dramatic climax.

Ellis Peters is adept at tying up loose ends. When we think she has finished, there is still one to come. Savour most slowly the return of Heribert - all apprehensively assembled to greet him, Robert and Jerome scarcely able to conceal their excitement....

Another immensely satisfying read, the book eventually closed with a contented sigh.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as "A Morbid Taste For Bones"! 18 May 2000
By A Customer
What can I say really? This book is about a gentleman who moves his family into the care of the monks at the price of him leaving his estate to them when he passes away. This naturally upsets the current benefactor of the will and suspicions arise when the gentleman is murdered by ingesting a poison which is part of a remedy created by brother Cadfael.
The story is well written - as usual - and is well paced. Well worth reading!
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