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The Red Velvet Turnshoe (Thorndike Core) Hardcover – Large Print, 2 Apr 2010

14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (2 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410425045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410425041
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,965,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cassandra Clark has written award-winning scripts for theatre, radio and television and now writes the medieval mystery series Hildegard of Meaux set in the time of Richard II. Six novels, with a seventh on the way, feature intrepid, problem-solving Hildegard and her sidekick Brother Thomas. Love interest is supplied by several passing knights but mostly by the sexy and charismatic Abbot Hubert de Courcy. Will they ever get together or are he and Hildegard destined to sleep alone? Only time will tell.
The Gothic Yorkshire landscape and its crumbling medieval abbeys and ancient walled towns provide the context for Hildegard's sleuthing into the darker side of medieval England.
Cassandra says: don't read this is you want magic swords and unlikely characters with peculiar eyes. I prefer real people plotting to make a better life for themselves. Ambitious, greedy, sexy and above all human only their clothes, transport and buildings are different to ours. And of course there were no mobile phones, internet or aircraft. I've found the facts are often far stranger than fiction so read the series and follow Hildegard down the dangerous byways taken by some weirdly savage medieval murderers.

Product Description

Review

'The 14th century is a fine backdrop for Clark's Abbess of Meaux series ...Clark's worldly nun has a degree of freedom other women of the period wouldn't have enjoyed and her arduous journey across the Alps is presented in convincing detail' (Sunday Times)

'Really engrossing storyline ... a real joy to read... I didn't want this book to end and I will have no hesitation in including it in my top five best reads of 2009. May this author write many more novels of this high quality in the future' (Eurocrime)

'Clark's central character is certainly memorable, and the story woven around her in this, the second of the author's Abbess of Meaux mysteries, is well plotted and meticulously researched ... this unusual murder mystery is a fascinating read ... a great addition to the sleuthing fraternity!' (Press Association)

'Cleverly plotted, this is a gripping novel full of twists and turns, bright with colour and fascinating period detail that brings a turbulent period of history to life' (Choice Magazine)

'History leaps out of the pages in vibrant colours, danger is at every hand, mystery piles upon mystery and you willingly succumb to the enticement of Cassandra Clark's writing' (Northern Echo)

'Every bit as absorbing as the first ... Clark is proving highly adept at bringing medieval history to life, and The Red Velvet Turnshoe adds considerably to her growing reputation' (Yorkshire Evening Post)

'Reader are taken on a perilous journey through Flanders and France over the Alps through St Bernard Pass onto Florence, all the time threatened by spies and killers determined to stop her' (Folkestone Herald & Dover Express)

'Clark's central character is certainly memorable ... well plotted and meticulously researched ... this highly unusual murder mystery is a fascinating read' (Dundee Courier & Advertiser)

'Hildegard is back! ... this is a well-written historical tale, with a depth of detail which allows the reader to immerse themselves in the fourteenth century ... the book skilfully weaves a complex plot with the rich period background and brings the whole story to life with vivid descriptions and a cast of roguish characters ... highly recommended' (Mystery Woman)

The second in the series of cleverly plotted medieval mysteries, full of twists and turns (Sainsbury's Magazine)

'Clark is one of the most sure-footed practitioners of this difficult genre.' (The Independant) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

An Abbess of Meaux mystery

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookwoman on 6 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
I love historical novels, especially ones with mystery, murder and a journey thrown in. It's a long wait between CJ Sansom's books, and, very sadly, Ariana Franklin has died, so I was quite excited to come across this.
But it turned out to be a very frustrating and bewildering read. I have to admit that I haven't read the first one, Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1), but I firmly believe that any book worth its salt should be able to stand alone. This author assumes rather too much about her readers' knowledge of the characters, both fictional and real, and the period - if you don't already know about the politics of Richard II's England, you might feel a bit lost and alienated in this world.
It's a very choppy narrative, you hop from Yorkshire, to the Alps, to Italy and back again, and nothing is linked together. New characters pop up everywhere, sometimes with a big build-up (like the sinister Italian countess), only to simply disappear again for no particular reason. Some of the relationships are downright weird - I never understood what exactly Hildegard felt for the strange minstrel Pierrekyn, for instance.
I found Hildegard to be a very unsatisfactory heroine altogether. Compare her to a similar sort of character, Ariana Franklin's Adelia, to see what I mean. Unlike Adelia, it's hard to root for Hildegard or even visualise her, and I kept losing sight of why her life was in such danger all the time. And it's not a good sign when you have to re-read the ending twice, to work out the significance of what's just happened.
In short, this book fails the plot test.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ascribenz on 17 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
I was intrigued by the blurb of this novel, but I have to confess my expectations were disappointed. As a character, Hildegard seems somewhat lacking. She's nice, and shows courage when required, but...more of an automaton than a human being. She's perhaps a little too good, a little too much the victim of circumstance. I don't rightly know why an assassin would bother trailing halfway across Europe after her. Despite having not one but three admirers in the book, she seems oblivious to all of it. And it would undoubtedly have helped if I'd read the first book in the series, because the number of characters introduced towards the end becomes bewildering. I could forgive that if it weren't for a meandering plot with a fizzer of an ending. One minute Hildegard's going to Rome, then the next she gets a letter telling her it's Florence, with no explanation. Sidelines go absolutely nowhere. What of Pierrekyn's antecedents? Who the hell is the shadowy Countess in Florence? She seems like a major player, only to make a brief and ultimately toothless cameo. And virtually everybody takes a turn as the possible murderer, throwing out threatening and elliptical comments for no apparent reason, simply to add to the atmosphere of menace. A bit more about the cross, the supposed crux - aha - of the story, would have been nice too.

In my estimation there are far better medieval murder mysteries out there, including Ariana Franklin, 'Death and the Devil' by Frank Schatzing, and (getting into Tudor times) C J Sansom. But it's early days for Hildegard, and maybe future books will improve.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Silkstone on 1 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ms Clarke certainly knows her stuff.
If you thought Hangman blind was good, read this next one in the Trilogy.
It really takes you into the world of intrigue and dark mystery of Medieval times.
Such wonderful descriptions of life at the time of the Political turmoils of the reign of Richard the second.
A thoroughly good and exciting read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Following on from the Hangman Blind, this novel picks up the story of Hildegard the Abbess of Meaux. In this novel she is charged with travelling to Florence to collect a valuable artefact but the plot revolves around the aftermath of the Peasants' Revolt. Populated by real and imagined characters, the speed of the narrative is exhilarating and this is a really satisfying read. There is no doubt that Clark wearing her learning lightly but the depth of knowledge and background is what makes these books far more than the superficial historical romances that populate the supermarket bookshelves.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By K. Smith on 26 April 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read the first book, I bought the second as soon as I saw that it was published and found it a thoroughly enjoyable read. As well as the mystery element, I very much like the feeling of history and what it was like to be alive in that period. I shall be eagerly awaiting the next installment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really good novel, focusing more on what was in the turnshoe and the political ramifications. My copy was previously used, and contrary to what the seller proclaimed, it did have a damaged spine, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I think it is a shame however that the latest is still only available in Kindle. I prefer books and am not willing to shell out over £150 plus the price of the book for just one purchase.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Netty on 1 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
The second novel in a series. This novel is an excellently researched, fast moving narrative which is well written. I hope Cassandra Clark is well advanced with another episode.
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