- 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: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1994
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“Delightful . . . A colorful and authentic medieval background fraught with swordplay and a challenge to the death.” —Publishers Weekly
“You’ll love Brother Cadfael, wily veteran of the Crusades. . . . This was England before the age of tea and crumpets.” —Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Ellis Peters is a pseudonym of Edith Mary Pargeter (1913 1995), a British author whose Chronicles of Brother Cadfael are credited with popularizing the historical mystery. Cadfael, a WelshBenedictinemonk living atShrewsbury Abbey in the first half of the twelfth century, has been described as combining the curious mind of a scientist with the bravery of a knight-errant. The character has been adapted for television, and the books drew international attention to Shrewsbury and its history.Pargeter won an Edgar Awardin 1963 for"Death and the Joyful Woman", and in 1993 she won theCartier Diamond Dagger, an annual award given by theCrime Writers Association of Great Britain. She was appointedofficer of the Order of the British Empirein 1994, and in 1999 the BritishCrime Writers Associationestablished theEllis Peters Historical Daggeraward, later called the Ellis Peters Historical Award.
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Top Customer Reviews
Then when the Ellis Peters listserv was going to be shut down recently because of lack of activity, we all came back to life and decided to keep it going. I got interested all over again, and started by buying the complete TV series in a very nice set here on Amazon, then discovered all 21 novels are now available as ebooks. I decided to read the books in order, starting with A Morbid Taste for Bones and continuing with One Corpse Too Many, then watch the corresponding TV version. The Mystery series starts with One Corpse Too Many and doesn't get around to A Morbid Taste for Bones until #8.
Ellis Peters's writing is vivid and beautifully crafted in all her novels and on full display in One Corpse Too Many. One thing I especially noted in the first two books in the series is the presence in each of a pair of strong, beautiful, and feisty women. In this book, it's Godith and Aline, in A Morbid Taste for Bones it's Sioned and Annest.
Sample of prose/poetry from One Corpse Too Many: "They had entered the walled garden, and were suddenly engulfed and drowned in all those sun- drenched fragrances, rosemary, thyme, fennel, dill, sage, lavender, a whole world of secret sweetness. The heat of the sun lingered, heady with scent, even into the cool of the evening. Over their heads swifts wheeled and screamed in ecstasy." These books aren't exactly page-turners, though they can be at times; they are books full of passages to savor, ideas to ponder, characters to wonder at.
Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk with an herb garden who went into the monastery after serving as a man of arms in the Crusades. The specific time period is the civil war (the Anarchy) between two heirs of Henry I. Sometimes the war features in the book, as in this case, some times it doesn't. Sometimes religion is a factor, sometimes not.
Brother Cadfael uses his knowledge of herbs and people to solve a variety of crimes.
Peters' settings (and the descriptions of them) are gorgeous and the mysteries well done.
Run, don't walk, to read these. Peters' (real name Edith Pargeter) mediocre books are better than most peoples' great books. (I like her modern series featuring Inspector Felse and his family too, but they can be hard to find.)
There was also a TV series with Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael. The series didn't work for me mostly because the stories lacked, as videos frequently do, the depth of the books. The fact that they were presented out of sequence didn't help. The actor who played Hugh Beringar in series 2 & 3 didn't work for me because he didn't look - or act - as described in the books. I keep meaning to go back and see if time has mellowed my opinion.
Then things get complicated. It is discovered that there is a treasure to be found which the castle's defenders intended to be smuggled out to use in the fight against King Stephen. There is also a Lady of the castle in hiding that, if captured, could be used as a pawn by the king. A love interest develops between the lady, disguised as a boy, and a squire charged with saving the treasure from King Stephan. Cadfael is soon engaged in a battle of wits with a lord Beringer who is determined to seize the treasure and the lady for the king. Beringer himself had been betrothed to the lady but he has another lady that he is smitten with. Can Cadfael bring these events to a happy conclusion and then get on with discovering the murderer? Or, is this all tied in together?
I found this to be a very interesting story with good characters, fine dialogue and interesting plots and subplots. The wording may have been a bit ponderous at times but that all helped to keep the feeling of the time period. The book length may only be listed as 181 pages but it seems to read as being much longer than that.
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