Susie will lead this month's discussion. New and used copies of the book are readily available. It appears that e-texts are NOT available for Kindle or Nook.
Introduction: Ellis Peters is one of many pseudonyms used by Edith (Mary) Pargeter. She was born in Horsehay, Shropshire, in 1913 and died in 1995. She was educated at Dawley Church of England Elementary School and Coalbrookdale High School for Girls but never attended university. She worked as a chemist's assistant from[masked] (in Britain, a "chemist" is a pharmacist). Finally, she served in the Women's Royal Navy Service,[masked], and was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). The rest of her life was spent writing crime novels and translations of Czech poetry and prose. Her writing awards include the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1963 and the (British) Crime Writers Association Silver Dagger in 1981.
The Cadfael chronicles (20 in all) are set between 1137 and 1145, during the Anarchy, the destructive contest for the crown of England between King Stephen and Empress Maud. Cadfael is a conversus, only entering the cloister in his forties after being both a soldier and a sailor. This experience gives him an array of talents and skills useful in monastic life. He is a skillful observer of human nature and a talented herbalist, which skill he learned in the Holy Lands from the Muslims. He is also inquisitive by nature, energetic, and has an innate, although modern, sense of justice and fair-play. Abbots call upon him as a medical examiner, detective, doctor, and diplomat.
A distinctive feature of the series is a pair of star-crossed lovers in nearly every book who invariably get the sympathy of Brother Cadfael (and the reader). Typically, Cadfael lends his energy and ingenuity to the double task of solving the mystery and bringing the lovers to a happy reunion.
Plot: Soon after his arrival at the Benedictine abbey of Shrewsbury, Brother Cadfael finds himself on a mission to his Welsh homeland. Acting as translator, he must help his prior to obtain the bones of Saint Winifred, which now rest in a small village grave. The Welsh villagers are loathe to part with the relics of a martyr said to have miraculous powers, but before an agreement can be reached, the one villager most outspoken in his dissent is found murdered. His lovely daughter is determined to find the killer, and Cadfael is eager to help.
Also join us for Movie Night on Friday, March 1.