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The Virgin in the Ice (Brother Cadfael Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Charming and humorously told.' SPECTATOR --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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.

Vanessa Benjamin (a.k.a. Roe Kendall) is a native of the British Isles. Some twenty-five years ago she moved to the United States with her family and set down roots in Maryland. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, receiving their silver medal as well as the Sir Emile Littler and Caryl Brahms awards. Benjamin has performed on stage in the Washington, DC, area for several years and at many venues and has performed at the Kennedy Center as Mrs. Schubert in the long-running show Shear Madness. An accomplished actress and narrator, she has recorded over two hundred books. Her work as a freelance voice-over artist and narrator has led her in many interesting directions, from technical government materials to eighteenth-century romance novels to hotel advertising, but narrating books is what she really enjoys. I really love playing all the parts when I narrate a book. It s an adventure, a challenge, and above all I feel that I learn something new with each book I read. I do a lot of reading for the Library of Congress Blind and Physically Handicapped program, and it is so rewarding for me especially when I get a letter from a patron; it s a great service for the listener. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Mysterious Press; 1st Mysterious Press edition (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446404284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446404280
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This sixth in the series of tales of Brother Cadfael is less obviously a whodunit and much more of a thriller or twelfth century adventure story. It is set in the English Marches, amidst the chaos ensuing from the sacking of Worcester by supporters of the Empress Maud against King Stephen in November 1139. The action takes place in Ludlow (mid-way between Cadfael's normal haunts of Shrewsbury, and the beleaguered city of Worcester) where our hero is ostensibly nursing back to health a Benedictine brother who has seemingly been waylaid by a band of outlaws, stripped and left for dead.
Whilst in Ludlow, Cadfael also finds himself embroiled in the hunt for a party of three young persons missing after the attacks on Worcester and known to be heading for Shrewsbury, at which destination they have failed to arrive. With a bitter freeze and the winter's first snows on hand, there are grave concerns for their safety and well-being. One of the three is subsequently found dead - obviously killed and dumped in a watery (now icy) grave on the very night that the good monk's patient was attacked.
Unlike many another Cadfael tale, this one moves along with a gripping sense of urgency and with a fair amount of tension and excitement building gradually as things proceed. It contains Ellis Peters' usual meticulous attention to both historical and narrative detail and constitutes as riveting - and entertaining - a story as you are likely to find. As always, Cadfael is aware of details overlooked by others and never once loses sight of the smaller issues that are wont to become subsumed into the larger, weightier ones. He (and the regular reader) is provided with an unlooked-for reward in this volume, too.
This book has to be one of the very best of the Cadfael Chronicles and is unreservedly recommended for lovers of the genre. Its story line stands somewhat apart from others in the series, making it fairly unimportant where it is read in the sequence.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First be warned that you have to like historical mysteries, particularly those that take place in medieval times - life was slower back then, and news travelled even slower (depending on the weather, the method of transport, the level of political strife, the condition of roads etc). All of these conditions are brilliantly evoked in THE VIRGIN IN THE ICE, which contains several surprising subplots, including revelations about Cadfael's past.
Now to the review proper. If this is the first Cadfael you are reading, you might find understanding some expressions and the society he lives and works in somewhat hard to follow. Basically, the story is set in the middle of a bitter English civil war between two grandchildren of William the Conqueror. Cadfael is a Welsh soldier turned monk. His chosen specialization in herbs and gardening is combined with his knowledge about warfare (and wounds inflicted by men on each other) and the real world to make him a formidable medieval detective. Furthermore, as a monk, he is relatively protected (as far as one could be protected) from physical harm on either side. Cadfael's duties keep him mostly in one town - Shrewsbury and its immediate environs, but he has been known to travel. While most of the Cadfael mysteries are set close to Shrewsbury (a real town near the Welsh border), in this particular book Cadfael will travel closer to Ludlow, a major castle to the south of Shrewsbury. During his sojourn, he will have to solve several mysteries, such as the identity of the young woman he finds dead and encased in ice (hence the title), the name of her murderer and his motive, the whereabouts of two noble orphans whose uncle belongs to the opposing side in the war, and the whereabouts of a band of robbers terrorizing the countryside.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
SPOILER WARNING: Do not read this review unless you have read Pilgrim of Hate or Brother Cadfael's Penance! Unlike Brother Cadfael, who hugs his precious secret and private joy to his thankful breast, I can restrain my "pen" only with the greatest difficulty. I want to publish the news abroad, but also have an obligation not to spoil the thrill of future discovery for readers who will follow.
All Ellis Peters' movels in this fabulous series offer excellent mysteries per se; indeed, many offer overlapping crimes by multiple malefactors. Yet to my medievally-inclined mind, the most satisfying are those novels which reveal more fascinating details or penetrating insight into the psyche and active past of our favorite monk-turned-sleuth. For Cadfael has been a soldier, sailor, sinner and Crusader--in his own unabashed words--in late 12th century Wales, England and the Holy Land. After 40 years of lusty living in the World, he willingly gave up arms forever, to take up the cowl and honor the cross.
But the cream of Peters' novels are those in which we meet the special characters do dear to Cadfael: his Saint, his best friend, Hugh, his lost amours and now...? What a joy for readers who have grown to love and respect this dedicated monk, as he gradually reveals his personal journey into a past not so dead after all! Peters makes a great case for mixed marriage in VIRGIN, as she does for the role of a faithful mistress in LEPER. Guilty men believe they see the ghosts of their victims here, as in BONES. The murderer thinks he can slip in an extra crime amid the general carnage, as in ONE CORPSE, but luckily for justice, Brother Cadfael does not permit these foul deeds to remain unnoticed on go unpunished.
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