I was completely gripped by this edition of the Sister Frevisse Medieval Mysteries. Not only was there a nice little mystery (or a few), but I felt I knew and understood some of the characters better.
This is murder and mystery in a medieval priory run by nuns. Though it only has nine nuns, that allows for plenty of possibilities. Sister Frevisse must unravel the mysteries within the confines of her office and community - not always an easy task. I enjoy the descriptions of their daily lives as much as the mysteries. I am also delighted to have found a series of books which has a strong heroine set in the medieval period. By modern western standards she is confined, but she has free thought and opinion and gumption to go with it. And I would argue, that she has far more liberty than some people in the world today.
The behaviour of the prioress did not put her in my favour, but including the internal monologue of this character gave her actions depth and whilst I thought many decisions were flawed, I could understand and empathize with her. I found the internal monologue of Sister Frevisse on the prioress actions gave two sides to the story, with the few words spoken with other nuns and persons on the issue providing yet more dimensions. Even better though, I enjoyed seeing more of Sister Frevisse's character. Too often heros and heroines seem a little too perfect - but she has some character flaws like the best of us. I could imagine she actually existed!
I enjoyed the friendly banter between Sister Frevisse and Joliffe, the player. The story does bring to the fore the disparity between rank. It was implied that Joliffe would be considered far more likely a murderer for being a player, or wanderer, than those of titles. This is an aspect of the justice of the time that Margaret Frazer has alluded to in previous books.
I look forward to the future development of Sister Thomasine's character. Throughout the books in this series, she has matured and surprised Sister Frevisse, who it appears on occasion underestimates her. In this book she surprised me!
Nearly all actions in the tale appear to stem from the misguided election of Domina Alys as Prioress and her own equally misguided faith in her relatives. Whilst I disliked and disagreed with many of her decisions, I did come to believe that she at least believed that she was acting in the best interests of St. Fridewide.
I read this book in one sitting because I had to know what would happen next. I became completely absorbed in the story - which I thoroughly love. I look forward to reading the next in the series on my kindle and I recommend this book.