The First Cadfael Omnibus: A Morbid Taste for Bones, One Corpse Too Many, Monk's-Hood Paperback – 6 Dec 1990
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A pleasing, and unusual mixture of suspense and historical fiction. (EVENING STANDARD)
Soothing, but no shortage of mayhem. (OBSERVER)
A cult figure of crime fiction. (FINANCIAL TIMES)
The first three Brother Cadfael mysteries in one specially designed volume.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
However, Ellis Peters' (Edith Pargeter's) writing is utterly superb. I stand in awe at the beauty of it. She says so much in the most concise and perfectly descriptive way - there isn't a unnecessary word anywhere. All the characters are wonderfuly drawn & well rounded. The period is captured excellently. There's a wonderful ironic sense of humour that runs through the stories. The stories are tightly plotted, with enough twists and turns to keep you interested & even if you can sometimes spot what's coming, you enjoy the journey so much, you keep going. There's nothing gory, gratuitous or offensive, just wonderful writing and storytelling, spiced with interesting murder mysteries and decorated with a fair few romances along the way.
Pargeter's writing is full of the most wonderful & inventive descriptions, from people to places to time period, that are so emotive & evocative, the books a joy to read from start to finish. As a budding writer myself, I sometimes write stories that I think are pretty good. Then I read someone like Ellis Peters & realise how far I have to go to learn this writing craft - it makes me feel like a child holding up their crayon picture to Michael Angelo!
If you needed only one reason to read these books - they are a masterclass in quality writing.
The external environment is the ongoing 11th century civil war between English King Stephen and his sister the Empress Maude. We also have references to the different societies as they travel to Wales. These become more relevant as the series progresses.
The inward struggle between faith and power is depicted as an individual monk is persuaded or wants to be persuaded to go on a mission to retrieve a neglected saint "St. Winifred." She lies in Wales and it happens that Brother Cadfael has a Welsh background, so he is charged with supporting the mission.
If you saw the movie you will immediately see the differences between it and he book. One main point is the fact that the monk was cured before the trip. The best difference is reviled with the detection and solution to the mystery.
One Corpse Too Many: The Second Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
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