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Justice for the Damned: a Medieval Mystery (Medieval Mysteries) Hardcover – June 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Medieval Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590583302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590583302
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,497,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal is recuperating from a life-threatening illness at the start of Royal's riveting fourth medieval mystery (after 2006's Sorrow Without End), but she brightens at an assignment from her aunt Beatrice, director of novices at Amesbury Priory, who asks her to investigate a ghost people claim has begun haunting Amesbury. When a local man is found beheaded, Eleanor realizes she's dealing with a human killer, not an otherworldly spirit. Meanwhile, a thief may be trying to steal a valuable illuminated manuscript from the priory. In a fascinating subplot, a handsome young monk, Thomas, hunts down the manuscript thief. Though committed to celibacy, 22-year-old Eleanor develops quite a crush on Thomas, who struggles with homosexual longings. The author subtly treats the erotic charge surrounding Eleanor and Thomas while shedding light on 13th-century understandings of sexuality. Royal draws together the murder, the manuscript and the ghost in an unexpected conclusion. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal is recuperating from a life-threatening illness at the start of Royal's riveting fourth medieval mystery (after 2006'sSorrow Without End ), but she brightens at an assignment from her aunt Beatrice, director of novices at Amesbury Priory, who asks her to investigate a ghost people claim has begun haunting Amesbury. When a local man is found beheaded, Eleanor realizes she's dealing with a human killer, not an otherworldly spirit. Meanwhile, a thief may be trying to steal a valuable illuminated manuscript from the priory. In a fascinating subplot, a handsome young monk, Thomas, hunts down the manuscript thief. Though committed to celibacy, 22-year-old Eleanor develops quite a crush on Thomas, who struggles with homosexual longings. The author subtly treats the erotic charge surrounding Eleanor and Thomas while shedding light on 13th-century understandings of sexuality. Royal draws together the murder, the manuscript and the ghost in an unexpected conclusion.(June)" --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An age-old story of lust, passion, greed and murder.



Prioress Eleanor is visiting her aunt at her old home, Amesbury Priory, when a series of murders threaten to set back her recovery from a near-fatal illness. She's accompanied by Brother Thomas, a monk who carries out secret missions for the Church, who's trying to protect a valuable manuscript sent to Amesbury for repair. Both the villagers and some members of the religious community are living in fear of a ghost they say haunts the riverbank. Some claim it's Queen Elfrida, founder of the Priory, others a local woman ruled a suicide and buried in unhallowed ground. When Wulfstan is found decapitated near the Avon's banks, his son Sayer, a wild youth who'd threatened to kill his father, is a likely suspect, along with the malevolent ghost. Eleanor becomes involved in the affairs of Sayer's cousin Alys, whose mother Jhone wants her to marry Herbert, a wealthy vintner whose wife was the suicide, but who's in love with a glover of modest means. Meanwhile, Thomas drinks at the local tavern hoping to discover who might be plotting to steal the manuscript. When another murder brings his concerns together with Eleanor's, both must battle their inner demons before the truth is revealed.



Royal's continuing saga of historical sleuths Eleanor and Thomas (Sorrow Without End, 2006, etc.) and their struggle to contain their inappropriate lust is a rousing tale." --Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

A native of Washington State, Priscilla Royal grew up in New Westminster, BC. She graduated with a BA in world literature from San Francisco State University. In 2000, she retired from the federal civil service and now writes medieval mysteries full time. Medieval literature and history have fascinated her for almost half a century, and she delights in finding details that aren't usually mentioned in most fiction. As one example, her main characters belong to the very real Order of Fontevraud, a double house of monks and nuns, run by a woman in an era when conventional wisdom said that women were weak, illogical and should never rule men. The characters remain true to their time but exhibit universal characteristics. Although a fan of theater, modern mysteries, and fiction of lesser violence, she was inspired to write about medieval crime and punishment by the works of both Ellis Peters and Sharon Kay Penman. Visit her website at www.priscillaroyal.com and her blog postings on The Lady Killers blog (www.theladykillers.typepad.com).

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This one had me on the edge of my seat.
Charlene odekirk
I was quickly engaged by the story and also found it to be a very good murder mystery.
Reader Views
Strong detailed description of the place and time time.
JerryMC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the winter of 1271 Prioress Eleanor was ill and almost died by the spring. She returns to Amesbury Priory where she took her vows. Deep dark gloomy thoughts drown her and it is hoped that a change of scenery will bring her back to life. Accompanying her is Brother Thomas but he is on a secret mission from his spy master.

Thomas's job is go find the manuscript thief who would steal the priceless Psalter. Both become involved in the lives of the people who depend on the abbey for their livelihood. On her way to visit a widow, Eleanor comes across the headless body of Eulfalow. It is said the abbey and the surrounding area is haunted by the ghost of Queen Elfrida who died at the abbey in the tenth century or the ghost of Eda, a woman who drowned in the river and was buried in unconsecrated ground because the verdict of her death was suicide. A monk guarding the Psalter is killed by the supposed "ghost". These new deaths are linked and it is up to Thomas and Eleanor to find and discover who and why.

Priscilla Royal writes some of the best medieval mysteries on the market today. Readers of Judith Tarr and Sharon Kay Penman will enjoy this medieval mystery that brings to life a bygone era when the church was all powerful and denizens from hell are believed to be walking the earth. The audience gets a glimpse as well of the merchant class and how the leaders of the abbeys live. However, as vivid as all that is, the investigation by Thomas and Eleanor make for exciting thirteenth century whodunit worthy of an Agatha Award nomination.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary J. Morris on January 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The midevil background to this mystery enhances the tension. The theme could be in any time period
but for those history buffs this book is not to be missed. The author captures the perceptions of God, His
rules, etc of the church hierarchy and the fears of the everyday people about heaven, hell and pergatory
Well meaning nuns and monks contributed to the sense of doom the populace felt. The central characters,Thomas,
a monk ,and Ellenor the young head of an abby, are kind and benevolent. The sexual attraction she feels for Thomas is heartbreaking a
s she feels so guilty for her desire. Thomas on the otherhand wrestles with his attraction to other men.
I recommend this book with five stars
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tim Warneka on November 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book on a whim at a visit to my local library. I really enjoyed the storyline and look forward to reading Ms. Royal's other works. Geek that I am, I especially appreciated her Author's Notes and bibliography (a rare thing in a fiction book). I'm always curious about where other writer's get their ideas from, and Ms. Royal has made several fascinating suggestions that will keep me busy for awhile (after I finish reading her other books, that is!)

Wonderful writer.
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By liz bradley on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good doing business with
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Medieval Mystery # 4

Slowly recovering from a nearly fatal illness, Prioress Eleanor finds herself interested in a suddenly appearing local ghost. When the ghost's appearance turns murderous, she and Brother Thomas step up their investigating, trying to prevent additional deaths.

Interesting if obvious plotline and side stories, and a truly impressive presentation of post-illness attitudes and medieval beliefs about the final judgment, but Royal is still harping on Eleanor's lust for Thomas and Thomas' homosexual longings. It's the old man-and-woman-can't-work-together-without-being-attracted line that I find extremely irritating; it just takes up space without advancing the storyline. The title was perfect.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a well-mannered tale of treachery in a religious setting in the 13th century. We have no record of the speech of "everyday" people of that time. The characters in this book are remarkably well-spoken, calm and reasonable (excepting when drunk one presumes) but there's a real murder mystery here to solve. There's also a real sense of place and time and conventions of the day. The description of life in an abbey, and in a town closely associated with religious houses seems grounded in serious research and I enjoyed Royal's notes at the end of the book as much as I did the story.
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This one had me on the edge of my seat. Love the way she puts history into her story. Also like her author notes. Good way to learn about medieval history.
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By P. Weiser on March 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another good one in the prioress-monk series. Misdirection seemed a bit weak, end a little precipitous (g); well worth the price of admission, however.
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