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.