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Monk's Hood (1980)

de Ellis Peters

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Sèrie: Brother Cadfael Mysteries (3)

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2,361526,656 (3.82)140
Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:Silver Dagger Award Winner: In this medieval mystery, Brother Cadfael faces suspicion when one of his herbal ingredients is used to kill a man.
Gervase Bonel is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he suddenly takes ill. Luckily, the abbey boasts the services of the clever and kindly Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist. Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted with two surprises: In Master Bonel's wife, the good monk recognizes Richildis, whom he loved before he took his vowsand Master Bonel has been fatally poisoned by monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's stores.
The sheriff is convinced that the murderer is Richildis's son, Edwin, who hated his stepfather. But Cadfael, guided in part by his concern for a woman to whom he was once betrothed, is certain of her son's innocence. Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder.
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Anglès (45)  Castellà (2)  Italià (2)  Francès (2)  Neerlandès (1)  Totes les llengües (52)
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This is my second time reading this and apparently I've either never written a review or I merely posted it on a Shelfari group. However, I gave it 4 stars back then, which is what I'd rate it now as well, since it's one of the better Cadfael installments and I can see why the average rating of this one is more than 4 stars. The blurb tells you virtually nothing about the book, which I think is good, because with mysteries, less is more. Suffice it to say that there are some great characters in this and that Cadfael and others work to solve the mystery of who murdered this man. Rest assured, he was never a suspect.

If you've never read a Cadfael novel, while you don't have to read them all in order, it's best to read the first two first so that certain things about certain characters are not spoilers. This is the third. ( )
  Karin7 | Jun 12, 2024 |
I read a lot of the Cadfael books many years ago and am enjoying them again. In this story a landholder offers his estate to the Church in return for being able to live out his life with his wife in their care. But the gift isn't finalized and murder gets in the way. When the wife was a young girl she & Cadfael were secretly engaged; she thinks the fact that she married another (her late first husband, who she was happy with) is what pushed him into monkhood & he doesn't worry about correcting her. There are many fun characters, and a new Abbott at the end.
  franoscar | Mar 12, 2024 |
Although there were lots of things to like about 'Monk's Hood', the third Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two, 'A Morbid Taste For Bones' and 'One Corpse Too Many'.

I loved the evocation of the lives of shepherds on a remote, two-man farm in winter. There was a sense of peace and an atmosphere closer to prayer and service than I feel when I'm reading about the Abbey.

The operation of the Welsh law courts grabbed my attention, both because I knew nothing about their distinctive way of working and because Ellis Peters used the court scene skillfully to generate tension that started low-key and escalated quite credibly into something dramatic.

As I'm beginning to expect, the plot was crafted to highlight an aspect of twelfth-century life that might hold a few surprises for modern readers. This time, the focus was on three manifestations of patriarchal power: the ability of a lord to disinherit his heirs and grant his estate to the Church. the lack of rights of widows and the practice of villeinage which could allow a free man to be enslaved and the children of villeins to be born into bondage,

All of this made for an entertaining read. The main problem that I had was with the plot. It was clever and held a few twists but I felt it was too dominant. For the first time, solving the mystery felt out of balance with getting to know the people, the place and the time. I thought too much time was spent explaining every detail and that the resolution was too tidy and hopeful to ring true.

That being said, this was still an enjoyable read and I'll be back for more Brother Cadfael soon. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Feb 7, 2024 |
This is the second of this series I read, roughly back to back with the first one. I did not find this to be as strong a story, nor so interesting as the first. For such a slim novel, I felt that the politics of the abbey plot line was belaboured and overwrought, while the mystery part felt thin and stretched. I think to some extent there was too much of a sameness between the overly ambitious Prior and the not looking for alternatives Sergeant--which meant that the sections of plot that should have moved past each other instead clumped weirdly.

It was interesting the relevant aspects of English v Welsh law that parts of the story hinge on. I'm not entirely fussed about the truth / historicity of these details, because they worked together to make a whole.

It is possible that if I had been able to find book 2 of the series that this would have worked better -- the first book is not set at the Abbey, and thus there are a number of new-to-me characters that might have felt better developed if I had encountered them previously.

In general, this was a pleasant way to spend some time, but I found myself frustrated by aspects of the writing. ( )
  fred_mouse | Dec 7, 2023 |
Summary: When Gervase Bonel dies of poison from a dish sent by the prior, the sheriff is convinced it is his stepson Edwin, with whom he is on poor terms. Cadfael suspects otherwise but must seek proof.

Gervase Bonel has decided to turn over his house at Mallilie to Shrewsbury Abbey in exchange for lodgings and provision at the Abbey. But before the agreement can be signed, Abbot Heribert is called to a legatine council at which his office may be revoked and another named. While he is away, Prior Robert sends a dish from his table for Bonel, and shortly after he eats it, he takes ill and, despite Cadfael’s ministrations, dies. Cadfael recognizes the cause–Monk’s Hood (also called Wolf’s Bane) poisoning.

Attention focuses on Bonel’s stepson, Edwin. Relations between them had been poor due to Edwin having at one time been promised Mallilie only to see the promise revoked. He had reconciled himself to this and, out of care for Richildis, wife of Bonel and his mother, he had come to dinner, sought to reconcile only to be mocked by Bonel, finally to the point where he angrily departed through the kitchen where the dish from the prior was warming. The sheriff is certain it is him and will not consider other possibilities. Shortly after, Bonel was dead. Edwin, with the help of lookalike cousin Edwy escapes.

Edwin finds his way to Cadfael, who questions him about his stepfather’s death in such a way that Cadfael ascertains that Edwin had no clue that the man was poisoned and is therefore innocent. Cadfael is determined to find the real killer, because the poison came from his stores, often used externally to relieve muscle and joint pains. Two keys are to find the vial that contained the poison and a reliquary the boy says he’d thrown into the river, a gift he had prepared for Bonel before being insulted. Whoever had the vial also probably marked with traces of the poison. The location of the vial confirms Edwin’s innocence, as does the eventual finding of the reliquary.

But who was the murderer? This will take Cadfael, sent to care for a sick abbey shepherd near the Welsh border, into Wales and into personal danger that made for an exciting and somewhat unexpected ending–though one in character with Cadfael.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt Peters gave away the suspect early in the story and then ignored that person, leaving me wondering–why aren’t they investigating ______? The misdirection didn’t work for me, leaving me to wonder only about the motive.

An interesting element in the story is Richildis, who turns out to be an early love of Cadfael’s, separated by the Crusade on which Cadfael went, and married to her first husband when no word came from Cadfael. Encountering her is a surprise for Cadfael, raising feelings but also the deeper awareness of his vows and calling. That’s not enough for the officious Father Jerome who sees him conferring with her about Edwin and manages to restrict Cadfael’s movements. But Brother Mark, Cadfael’s assistant is not so restricted.

Cadfael’s relationship with Hugh Beringar, left in charge when the sheriff was called to the king’s Christmas feast, continues to develop. Both stand apart from many others with lesser visions of human nature and acting beyond the strict letter of the law. I look forward to seeing how their friendship develops. ( )
  BobonBooks | Sep 6, 2023 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Peters, Ellisautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
BascoveAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Busse, InêsTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Christensen, JanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Chwat, SergeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Dolničar, Marjanca MilenaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Grønborg, SusanneTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Holst, KnudTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jacobi, DerekNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Janssens, PieterTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Karve, JuhaniTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Liungman, Carl G.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Malsch, EvaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mõisnik, MihkelTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Menini, María AntoniaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Okamoto, HamaeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Pošustová, StanislavaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Puudist, TarmoIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Staercke-Lobry, MarijeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Thorne, StephenNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tiisväli, HelleEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tull, PatrickNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Valla, RiccardoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Volkovskiĭ, V. E.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ward, JohannaNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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On this particular morning at the beginning of December, in the year 1138, Brother Cadfael came to chapter in tranquillity of mind, prepared to be tolerant even towards the dull, pedestrian reading of Brother Francis, and long-winded legal haverings of Brother Benedict the sacristan.
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Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:Silver Dagger Award Winner: In this medieval mystery, Brother Cadfael faces suspicion when one of his herbal ingredients is used to kill a man.
Gervase Bonel is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he suddenly takes ill. Luckily, the abbey boasts the services of the clever and kindly Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist. Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted with two surprises: In Master Bonel's wife, the good monk recognizes Richildis, whom he loved before he took his vowsand Master Bonel has been fatally poisoned by monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's stores.
The sheriff is convinced that the murderer is Richildis's son, Edwin, who hated his stepfather. But Cadfael, guided in part by his concern for a woman to whom he was once betrothed, is certain of her son's innocence. Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder.

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