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One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Series: Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (March 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446400513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446400510
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Gripping and knowledgable' - THE SPECTATOR --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ellis Peters is a pseudonym of Edith Pargeter, author of historical novels such as The Heaven Tree Trilogy. Under the name of Ellis Peters she wrote crime fiction including The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael and a more "modern" detective, Detective Chief Inspector George False. Ellis Peters won many distinguished writing awards including an Edgar Award, the Silver Dagger Award and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award of the Crime Writers Association. She lived in Shropshire, England. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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This second book of the the Brother Cadfael series was a good read.
The setting - 1100s - is well researched, the characters are well developed and the plot keeps me turning the pages.
He tries his best to discover the identity of the victim and the murderer.
T. Hooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Steve Benner VINE VOICE on December 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"One Corpse Too Many" appeared a couple of years after the earlier, `pilot' book in the Brother Cadfael series. During the intervening period, Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) had fleshed out her picture of mediaeval Shrewsbury somewhat - and also clearly formulated a plan for developing her earlier novel into a longer series of stories. This second book skilfully sets the scene and introduces characters for later volumes, so for maximum enjoyment of both this and later volumes, you should read this early in the sequence (indeed, the TV dramatisations of the books features this as the first episode).
The action of this book is set in 1138, during the siege of the castle of Shrewsbury - held by parties loyal to the Empress Maud - by King Stephen, anxious to defend and uphold his claim to the throne of England. As in the previous book, Brother Cadfael's interest lies more in seeing to a successful resolution the personal dramas of those innocents caught within the wider political manoeuvrings, than any pursuit of larger goals. Indeed, his dogged pursuit of the truth and justice for the unidentified and unremarked "extra" corpse amongst those slain on Stephen's orders is just one example of this. Throughout the book, though, the solving of the murder mystery takes second place to his concern for those still living. Indeed, the murder is solved almost along the way, as it were. And not by Cadfael, alone.
As with others in this series, Peters' use of archaic language (both words and phrasing) in her prose and attention to historical detail draw the reader wholly into the picture of mediaeval Britain that she paints. In addition, she has a fine sense of drama, which makes the book hard to put down from the outset. Even when you know the outcome, the tale remains gripping, so even if you've seen the TV dramatisation, this book remains an excellent and exciting read. Its ending is somewhat different (and rather more satisfying) than the TV version, too.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on August 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With her first Brother Cadfael novel ("A Morbid Taste for Bones"), English author Ellis Peters introduced us to perhaps, now, the most famous of the medieval "detectives"! And in her second installment, "One Corpse Too Many," we find the erstwhile Benedictine monk up to his neck in another murder mystery, this time involving way too many deaths!
In this episode, Brother Cadfael and his beloved Shrewsbury have the unpleasant task of burying the bodies of 94 soldiers, killed as a result of a battle between Stephen and the Empress Maud, both trying to claim the throne of England. In this ugly civil war, we find the countryside constantly in a flux as to which side is which, as this struggle, which lasted for 12 years, seemed to change shapes and sides all too frequently. In this instance, it is Stephen who has won the day. After the hanging of the hold-outs, Brother Cadfael, representing the church and the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shrewsbury, goes in to arrange for the proper burial of the dead. He is told there were exactly 94 bodies. Instead, he finds an extra one--that of a young man, unidentified, who has had his throat slashed.
And Brother Cadfael, over the course of the novel, uses all his God-given talents to solve the mystery. And solve it, of course, he does. He wants not only to identify the young man, but to name the murderer. At the same time, Peters, whose real name is Edith Pargeter, lays the foundation for two of her other recurring characters, Aline and Hugh Beringer (This is a nice romantic touch!). Cadfael, himself, is the herbalist to the abbey and uses that skill to help him solve the murder. He is also able to call upon some of the knowledge he learned during his younger days as a Crusader to the Holy Lands.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff on December 4, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every so often I pick up a book that has been published for years and wonder "Why didn't I read this earlier". Such is the case with this book, the second in the Brother Cadfael series. I always thought the notion of an amateur sleuth in medieval England sounded a bit too hokey for me, but after seeing this novel listed as one of the Independent Mystery Sellers Association 100 Favorite Novels of the Century I decided to give it a try. Part political intrigue, part historical romance, and part mystery, this novel had me hooked from chapter one.
There are twenty books, or chronicles, in the Cadfael series that take place against the backdrop of the battle between King Stephen and Empress Maud for the contested throne of England. In this particular novel, King Stephen and his forces overtake the castle at Shrewsbury, the town in which Brother Cadfael's abbey is situated. Allegiances to King Stephen and Empress Maud create an atmosphere fraught with danger for no one can be trusted to keep any secrets under penalty of death. Cadfael looks into the murder of a young man who is found strangled among the corpses of the defenders of the castle whom King Stephen has had hanged for treason.
This murder takes a backseat to Cadfael's efforts to protect the daughter of one of the former Nobleman of Shrewsbury castle, who had pledged allegiance to Maud, and a game of cat and mouse between Cadfael and a mysterious young man named Hugh Beringar. Both story lines have enough suspense of their own in diverting the reader's attention from the murder. The language and style of the book is written in an almost Shakespearean way lending to the atmosphere of a very romantic period. This may seem a bit "flowery" to some, but lends some authenticity to the time period. This was a fun book and I look forward to reading more of Brother Cadfael's adventures.
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