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A Psalm for Falconer (William Falconer Medieval Mystery) Hardcover – October 1, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

At Oxford University, in the mid-13th century, Regent Master William Falconer (Falconer and the Face of God, 1997, etc.) has undertaken a journey to Conishead Priory on remote Lancaster Bay- -the intent being to study the scientific tomes in the collection of Bishop Grossteste, now belonging to library of the Priory. He leaves just before the unheralded arrival of his friend Ann Segrim and the discovery, at nearby Godstow Abbey, of a murdered young nun. Falconer, guided on foot across the tidal bay by the young son of Ellen Shokburn, longtime worker at the Priory, finds a mare's nest of secrets behind the monastic life of dawn-to-dusk prayers. The immediate puzzle is the whereabouts of books missing from the collection, and librarian Brother Ralph Westerdale provides little help. Prior Henry Ussher, meanwhile, is absorbed in his ambition for higher office and seemingly stunned when the 15-year-old skeleton of Brother John de Landetoft, his onetime rival for the Priorship, emerges from the sands of the bay. Back in Oxford, Ann Segrim has determined to solve the mystery at Godstow Abbey, with the help of Falconer's old friend Constable Peter Bullock--and, despite the autocratic opposition of Abbess Lady Gwladys, she manages to do just that. At the Priory another murder has taken place, and Falconer's physical stamina is sorely tested in the treacherous shoals before he finds answers to murders old and new. More than enough church ritual, shadowy figures, spooky noises, and tidal lore, all couched in stiff and stately prose. Fine fare for lovers of the ecclesiastical; for others, a rather dull slog. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Series: William Falconer Medieval Mystery
  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st U.S. ed edition (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312168330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312168339
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,998,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on August 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best in the series! Access to some rare texts of Aristotle tempts Master William Falconer away from the petty intrigues of Oxford to Furness Abbey, near the shifting sands of Lancaster Bay. As usual, Falconer stumbles onto a twenty year old mystery that, to his dismay takes up his time that he feels could be more usefully spent reading Aristotle.
I enjoy mysteries that allow the reader to appreciate the history and culture of the times; and this mystery is rich in both. The mystery is intriguing and the description of the treacherous shifting sands and the remote abbey adds to the fearful atmosphere. A truly enjoyable read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"A Psalm for Falconer" is the fourth in the "Falconer" Medieval Mystery by Ian Morson, and it is one of the better ones to date. Oxford's Regent Master William Falconer leaves 13th Century Oxford in order to travel to the remote Conishead Priory on Lancaster Bay with the intention of studying the scientific manuscripts in the remote Priory's Library. While crossing the shifting sands of Lancaster Bay with a local guide, he witnesses the recovery of a body from the sandbanks, all of which leads to a 15 year old mystery and the body of a missing monk. Meanwhile, back in Oxford, a nun is discovered murdered at the nearby Godstow Abbey. Falconer's old friend Constable Peter Bullock is faced with investigating the murder without even being allowed into the Abbey to question witnesses. He enlists the help of Ann Segrim who is able to gain entrance into the Abbey. Strange things are occurring within the Abbey's walls at night, and together Bullock and Segrim must attempt to use Falconer's methods to solve the mystery at Godstow Abbey. Meanwhile, back at the Priory, Falconer discovers a Priory full of secrets and mystery and death.

Ian Morson has a strong gift for characterization and developing local color. The inner workings of the Abbey and the community of monks at Conishead Priory were interesting and realistic. The plot for "Psalm for Falconer" was fairly involved as is moved back and forth between the two mysteries. The mystery itself is intriguing, and the description of the remote abbey adds to the mysteriousness of the story. It is a delightful historical mystery, and I do recommend the series. I will be reading more.
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By Carmen F. Zaccardi on February 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read a number of the Falconer series and found this one not quite up to the standards of others. The plot was fairly involved and hindered somewhat by the dealing with two murder mysteries at once. The settings and descriptions were well done as usual. The back and forth between the two story lines was annoying at times and seemed to come at questionable times. But, as always, the characters were interesting and the historical detail first rate.
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