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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yorkshire 1382 comes alive
Yorkshire in 1382 comes alive in this well written, well researched book.
The tale is interesting, even gripping (there is murder, treachery, there are surprising twists in the story) and the book is a page-turner.
But this is a more ambitious book, which succeeds in conveying the atmosphere of the time and place through a never boring, very visual depiction of...
Published on 2 Dec 2008 by Gabriella

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark
I've never read a medieval mystery yet which can hold a fat-dipped rush-light to the original and best, Cadfael, and 'Hangman Blind' by Cassandra Clark did not challenge my expectations. It is a shame because Clark's heart is in the right place and she has clearly researched her subject thoroughly.

In summary, the story and prose are competent enough but dull...
Published 12 months ago by Carroty Nell


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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yorkshire 1382 comes alive, 2 Dec 2008
This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
Yorkshire in 1382 comes alive in this well written, well researched book.
The tale is interesting, even gripping (there is murder, treachery, there are surprising twists in the story) and the book is a page-turner.
But this is a more ambitious book, which succeeds in conveying the atmosphere of the time and place through a never boring, very visual depiction of the sights (I especially liked the clothes), the scenery, the sounds, even the weather of medieval Yorkshire.
I have also learned, quite painlessly, a lot about the social history of the time, mainly, but not only, through the well rounded characters (my favourite is Roger de Hutton) and their life. We meet Normans, Saxons, powerful and powerless, rich and poor, and monks (the protagonist is a lively, strong Cistercian nun and the abbey of Meaux, in Yorkshire, is central to the story).
I took great pleasure in savouring the writing itself, the turn of phrase and the visual depiction.
I closed the book wishing for more and look forward to the next book in the series.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale of medieval intrigue, 18 Oct 2008
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K. Smith "bookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I took this book on holiday with me, I could read the odd chapter I thought if the weather was not too good. However, once I had started reading Hangman Blind I didn't want to put it down and was quite glad that there was quite a bit of rain to provide a good excuse for not going out. My husband did get a little put out that everything else - cooking, shopping and even sleeping seemed to be falling by the wayside until I had finished the book.

Apart from a good tale, Ms Clark has obviously done a great deal of research into what life was like at the time in which the book is set and that considerably added to its interest. There is much rain and mud in this book which given this summer's weather seemed to add to its appropriateness as holiday reading.

Ms Clark leaves enough hints of future sculdugary to come to ensure that I for one will be buying the next book in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark, 17 July 2013
By 
Carroty Nell "Nell" (Alaska, USA (summer) Manchester, England (winter)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I've never read a medieval mystery yet which can hold a fat-dipped rush-light to the original and best, Cadfael, and 'Hangman Blind' by Cassandra Clark did not challenge my expectations. It is a shame because Clark's heart is in the right place and she has clearly researched her subject thoroughly.

In summary, the story and prose are competent enough but dull. Hildegard, Abbess of Meaux, stumbles upon the grisly remains of several hanged men. What is the connection with the Peasants' Revolt of the previous year? How are Roger de Hutton, lord of the manor where Hildegard was born, and his family and household involved?

The medieval atmosphere and the violent aftermath of the Revolt are well captured by the writer, but that's the only great thing about the book. The character of Hildegard has little depth; Clark could have developed her much more, I felt. I, for one, cared very little about her or what happened to her. The plot of murder and mystery is suitably complex and well executed, but I saw through the only twist which the author attempted straightaway!

It isn't a bad read by any means, but I don't think I'll be buying the next in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hildegard - the first adventure, 27 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
The story of "Hangman Blind" is set in Yorkshire, which I know a little about, at a time I know not much about at all. I had heard of the Peasants' Revolt, John Wyclif and Wat Tyler, but only briefly in passing. I'm not generally interested in politics, so I wasn't sure whether this tale was going to be my cup of tea after all.

It begins in awful weather. Wet, cold, miserable weather with which I could sympathise because it was written so well that I could almost feel the rain trickling down my own neck as I read. There's a lot of wet weather in this book, and it's clear that the writer is familiar with the unpleasantness of it.

The characters are well written. Even comparatively minor characters are given enough background and history to make you feel you know them, and the more solid players are made real with personalities from which they rarely diverge, except when a little subtlety or an air of mystery is called for. One interesting feature is that almost nobody is all bad. Whatever their misdeeds (and there are quite a number of misdeeds in this book!) they have redeeming features and reason behind their actions, so that those who have the care of soul and/or body feel sorrow rather than anger when they fall off the straight and narrow.

The story is densely written, packed with fact and incident, and carries you along on a breathless, twisting road of murders, births, feasting, searching, jousting, spying and dancing, to a denouement which I must confess I was slightly thrown by. Although I had guessed some of the answers by that time, there were mysteries still to be solved or proven, and one particular chapter seemed to be throwing out confessions and solutions in every other line! The impression, after a number of tense chapters of suspense, was suddenly quite comic, but I think it was a way of indicating the relief felt by the characters when their own particular worries and fears were eased and all was or was about to become well again.

I find it hard to give a rating to this book. I enjoyed it very much, and am in awe of the fantastic amount of research work which has obviously gone into it. I would love to give it four and three-quarter stars, I think, but that isn't possible. On the other hand, if I give it five, that might put off those potential readers who are always suspicious of perfect scores! Can I manage a 5-minus . . . ? No, it deserves five stars, and it shall have them.

I can recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-plotted and well-written tale from a time so far removed from ours, but I'm not going to give away any more of the story because I don't believe in spoilers.

I plan to start reading the second book in the series soon, and I have already bought the third. I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with Hildegard and, perhaps, her hounds.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing intrigue, 26 May 2009
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I don't usually get into this sort of book, maybe being male - but this hooked me. I was intrigued by the obvious excellent historical research - and by the characters - so I read to the end - and met the surprise. Well worth a read. And it is so well written.

In fact, it has led me to the follow-up, The Red Velvet Turnshoe.The Red Velvet Turnshoe (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 2)I shall report back.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great mystery novel, 11 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I am completely inpressed with this book and am therefore writing my first ever review.

The heroine and all the other characters are well developed and believable, the setting in 14th century Yorkshire well researched and vividly brought to life and the plot has a little for everyone: murder, political intrigue, personal vendetta and supressed romance.

What I particularly enjoyed is that the murder mystery is well embedded in the narrative and does not overshadow the characters' journeys.

Therefore if you expect an Agatha Cristie type of ending you might be disappointed, as there are no big suprises in the end... on the contrary, it all makes sense and flows naturally from beginning to end. There are of course twists and I couldn't put the book away until I reached the end.

Clarke's writing style is colourful and confidend and adds to the experience.

I can only recommend this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 Mar 2010
This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I specifically bought this book because I love historical crime but I was really disappointed. The character of Hildegard is likeable enough and to be fair I didn't feel the need to put the book down and it seemed to get better as the story went on. However, the plot was a bit boring and at the end it left me thinking "is that it?" I was actually skipping a few paragraphs towards the end because I found them, again, boring. I am going to read the next book in the series because someone has already bought it for me as a gift, so the first hasn't put me off that much, but I definitely wouldn't have bought it myself. I'd already decided who had committed the crimes about half way through and I was disappointed to find that I wasn't wrong!
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3.0 out of 5 stars dissappointing end, 31 Mar 2014
By 
Mr. C. Sheeran "kipper" (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I quite liked this book but I thought the back cover misleading and some aspects were blindingly obvious. It seems people then were a very forgiving bunch considering what was going on. For me, it just didn't ring true. I enjoyed it though, so please don't be put off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 25 Mar 2014
This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
I am not generally a great 'crime'/'mystery' fan, but this book was brilliant - it holds your attention all the way through, and the Abbess herself is a splendid creation - another memorable figure in the genre to rival even the likes of Mr. Holmes himself!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really good!, 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) (Paperback)
5**** Would have been better if I could have got it on Kindle, as the print was really really small
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Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1)
Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1) by Cassandra Clark (Paperback - 4 Sep 2008)
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