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Saturday, December 19, 2015
Medieval Mysteries--Owen Archer series by Candace Robb
The Nun's Tale is the third in the series, and the only one that has given me pause. It is a dark tale, but the inspiration came from a real incident. Chaucer makes a brief appearance which, given the title, is entirely appropriate. A lot of interesting historical information and the introduction of some new minor characters who will show up later--but the nun's role bothered me.
The King's Bishop begins with the suspicious death of a page and an accusation against Owen's friend Ned. Ned has fallen in love with one of Alice Perrer's maids, and Alice gives Ned an alibi by admitting that Ned was with her servant at the time of the murder. Ned is removed from the scene when assigned to a delegation to a Cistercian abbey in hopes of gaining support for the king's nomination for a bishop. More murder and political maneuvering ensue. I felt like the books were back on track with this one.
The Riddle of St. Leonard's is particularly interesting because of two factors: the return of the plague and a mystery involving the deaths of several corrodians. Corrodians made donations of money, land, or housing to an abbey or monastery, and in return, received care and accommodation for the rest of their lives. St. Leonard's provided housing, food, and medical care for its carrodians in the city of York. Some of the corrodians, however, lived beyond the worth of their endowments and instead of making a profit, the church had to absorb the loss. The practice was being curtailed at the time of the novel. Lots of twists in this one.
The Gift of Sanctuary finds Owen returning to Wales on a mission for the Duke of Lancaster. Traveling with him are his father-in-law (on pilgrimage), Geoffrey Chaucer (to report on the fortifications in Wales), and the temperamental Brother Michaelo, who has made some drastic changes since the first book. Again, the characters have depth and unique personalities, but of course, there is a murder and some political deceit as well.
I really like this series of medieval mysteries.