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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 1997
The reign of the tyrannical Domina Alys continues in this next volume of the Dame Frevisse series. The story opens with Domina Alys' relatives having infested the priory, consuming the priory's provisions, and making general and specific nuisances of themselves. Combine this with the contruction of a tower, the kidnapping of a prospective bride, Domina Alys' pettinesses and revenges, the appearance of an old "friend", and the murder seems like just another event.

Margaret Frazer excels in depicting the period with great vividness and accuracy. It is a pleasure to watch events unfold and read the excellent dialog. Her characters continue to develop with Dame Frevisse becomming more tolerant of others' failings, Sister Amicia actually able to keep a coherent thought in her head, and Sister Thomasine continuing her progress toward sainthood.

You WILL enjoy this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 1997
In 1439, Prioress Domina Alys of St. Frideswide's Abbey decides that the only way she can save her abbey is to bring in new novices and to find wealthy patrons to pay for the renovation and expansion of the facility. The other sisters, especially Sister Frevisse, loathe Alys' tyrannical leadership. To Alys, the sisters do not appreciate all she is doing to save the facility. She blames it on the lackadaisical leadership of the previous two Prioress, who were more preoccupied with God than the day to day running of an Abbey.

To make matters worse, at least in the mind of Sister Frevisse, Alys allows her relatives, the violent and argumentative, but rich Godfreys to stay as guests. However, Alys may yet regret her decision when the long feuding family squabble turns to murder as one of the guests is killed. Sister Frevisse investigates the case, not knowing that she places herself and the abbey is jeopardy from a killer who prefers to remain anonymous.

The seventh Sister Frevisse mystery is a well written Medieval who-done-it, though not quite on the level of its predecessors (all are excellent novels). The story line is interesting, especially its fifteenth century background. Sister Frevisse is one of the best amateur sleuths of any era, but new readers to the series will not gain the richness of the characters as previously described in this series earlier works. Fans of the historical mystery Medieval novels will, however, enjoy Margaret Frazer's latest novel, THE PRIORESS TALE and shouldn't pass it by.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2012
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.
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on 2 January 2013
a considered account of medieval priory life told via a murder mystery. The descriptions are good, and need to be, as the story draws the reader in steadily to a murder that doesn't take place until the latter part of the book. this leaves a short space in which the murder is solved making it seem hurried.
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on 4 September 2013
As logic was the most important study in those days one can only pray that it will be again. scientific calculation with figures and symbolds and no words might not always hold to the end
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on 12 November 2013
Having reviewed the preceding books in the series I am running out of words. This is an excellent series, seemingly well researched, not over egged and very engaging.
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on 8 December 2012
quite enjoyed it. Historically acurate but can get bogged down in details, however I am enjoying the year by year continuaty
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on 23 April 2013
I love the characters and the accurate depictions of life in the 15th century... .. .. .. .. .. ..
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on 5 November 2014
A relaxing and easy read ut with enough substance to keep you reading.
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on 31 July 2015
Slow to get going but then couldn't put it down
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