From Publishers Weekly
Two-time Edgar nominee Frazer (The Servant's Tale, etc.) immerses the reader into the lives and social mores of the minor English gentry-their dress, food, feelings and motivations-in her latest historical to feature Dame Frevisse, a Benedictine nun of St. Frideswide's priory and granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer. In the summer of 1448, Dame Frevisse accompanies 11-year-old Ursula, a student at St. Frideswide's, home to attend the funeral of Ursula's father, Sir Ralph Woderove. The brutal and selfish Sir Ralph, despised by even his own family members, has been murdered, possibly by a poacher while Sir Ralph was hunting in the woods. In the end, only Dame Frevisse really cares who did in Sir Ralph, and in solving the crime she happens to do more good than simply bringing a killer to justice. The book's charm lies in the author's meticulous research, notably on hounds and the changes in breeds of dogs over the centuries and on the intricacies of medieval wills and property rights. The plot moves at a stately pace appropriate to its time and setting.
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Frazer's thirteenth Dame Frevisse mystery again takes readers back to Medieval England. Tom, Hugh, and Miles are sons of Sir Ralph and Lady Anneys. Sir Ralph is an abusive man who shows no mercy for his wife and children or for his peasants. When he turns up dead during a hunting expedition, no one mourns. Lady Anneys and her daughter, Ursula, repair to Dame Frevisse's convent while the surviving sons deal with the estate. With stringent conditions set out in his will, the evil Sir Ralph seems to have found a way to control his family from beyond the grave. When Tom, the eldest son, and Sir William, Sir Ralph's coconspirator, also die, Dame Frevisse and the women return to the castle to put an end to the family hostilities. With the author's usual attention to historical detail and keen psychological insight--but with more action than in previous entries-- Fraser's latest will please both Frevisse aficionados and historical mystery readers new to the series. Barbara BibelCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved