Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Riddle of St. Leonard's (Owen Archer, #5)” as Want to Read:
The Riddle of St. Leonard's (Owen Archer, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Riddle of St. Leonard's (Owen Archer #5)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  920 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Medieval York is wrapped in a dangerous riddle that only Owen Archer can unfurl.

The fetid summer heat of 1369 has the citizens of York besieging Owen Archer's apothecary wife, Lucie, for physicks against noxious vapors. But more than pestilence is in the air. Owen is summoned to investigate the theft of rare treasures from St. Leonard's Hospital and the untimely deaths of
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Riddle of St. Leonard's, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Riddle of St. Leonard's

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersThe Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyMaisie Dobbs by Jacqueline WinspearMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Favorite Historical Mystery Series
202nd out of 793 books — 931 voters
Doomsday Book by Connie WillisForever Amber by Kathleen WinsorYear of Wonders by Geraldine BrooksA Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton WalshThe Plague by Albert Camus
Bubonic Plague
47th out of 68 books — 19 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Shala Howell
Aug 12, 2007 Shala Howell rated it liked it
This is proving to be an enjoyable series of books. The characters are drawn well enough to make the stories believable, but not so sharply that their emotions affect mine.
Raven Haired Girl
Robb's metrical writing along with her well-developed characters provide for much enjoyment and entertainment in this series. Atmospherically you are swept into medieval times, people, hardships, every day life. The mystery was fairly easy to piece together, nothing too intricate, however, with the pestilence causing havoc there was an ominous feel throughout the story, the lives stolen, the survivor's guilt, the fear, the general unknown of this devastating plague evident as remembrances of ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Carole rated it did not like it
Did not compare well to Michael Jeck's mystery novels. Author tried to use the prose / language of the day. For me, it pulls the focus from the story line to the use of ancient form of language.
Jul 29, 2016 Patsyann rated it it was amazing
The thing that I like about these series of books, is the medieval feel. There is no 20th, 21st feeling about the stories. Love it!!
The author's notes should have been at the front of the book, because I had lots of questions while reading that were explained in the note section. A hospital during 1300 York, England, is not the same as a hospital in modern times. What the people in 1300 York thought caused the plague, and what really caused the plague.
Owen Archer and his wife are again, not in t
Nov 04, 2015 Patty rated it really liked it
This is the fifth Owen Archer book and this one has our intrepid mystery solver dealing with a problem that he won’t be able to fix no matter what he does – the plague has returned. Owen can do all he can but there will be no effort he can put forth to stop it from its path. But that is not the only issue facing Owen in this tale.

St. Leonard’s is the medieval version of a long term care facility but it seems that people who have paid for their care are dying ahead of their time. If this got out
Jul 19, 2016 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This series of one of over 20 historical mystery series I'm reading through, very slowly. Owen is a strong character as is Lucie, his wife, and the York setting makes for a good mix of people and some connection to the larger English scene. This book focuses on the hospital which, as the author explains in her historical note at the end, is more of a long term care facility, more focused on spiritual than physical care. There are a large number of interesting characters and I truly hope that ...more
Plague has returned. Bad things are afoot at St Lawrence hospital. The Archbishop lends Owen to his nephew to get to the bottom of the mess at the hospital. There are thefts and deaths of pensioners including Bess's uncle. There is also a small girl whose family has died that Magda and Owen are trying to take some care of despite her obstinacy. All these threads come together the motive is obscure but the bad guy seems likely almost from the start. Lots of character plot moving in this one ...more
Oct 14, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
This was well constructed with a good bit of historical research on how the public responded to the third visit of the plague in 1369. Favorite characters made their appearances along with a cast of bad actors behind murders and theft at St Leonard's. Owen again took advantage of help from Bess who had personal loss in the game while Lucie and Jasper kept very busy tending the apothecary creating and providing remedies.
Jan 30, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
The date is 1369. The plague is rampant. Queen Phillippa is dying as are a number of "corrodians" of St. Leonard's hospital and thieves have stolen a large number of valuable items from the hospital. Owen Archer is called from assisting his apothecary wife, Lucie, to investigate the thefts and the unusual number of deaths that cannot be attributed to the plague.

An interesting cast of characters, and a good description of the the mid-14th century life.
Aug 16, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it
This is the 5th in the series of Owen Archer, the spy of the Archbishop of York. In this installment Owen is called upon to investigate the murder of aging patients at St. Leonards Hospital, and the theft of valuables from the church while York is in the midst of the Plague and many people have fled the city for the country hoping to avoid death.

This was another good one in the series
I wanted to like this book but I just could not get interested in the story. I got as far as chapter 6 and decided that it was just not my cup of tea. I always feel a little bad for abandoning a book but I get this traveling again in hopes that it will find someone who appreciates it more.
May 13, 2011 Pat rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Very nice historical mystery. Good characters. I especially liked the information on herbs and gardens. And it brought home the agony of living through the plague. I look forward to reading more books featuring Owen, Lucia and the rest.
Feb 14, 2016 Mfred rated it really liked it
Of all the Owen Archer mysteries, this is one that has stuck with me. This is a darker and heavier story, with the fear and insecurity that plague brings to York acting on all of the characters lives.
Charles A. Belisle
Most interesting

I very much enjoy reading historical fiction and Candace Robb is a master at telling these tales. There is always a thread of truth in her stories and that makes them most interesting.
Oct 27, 2008 Liisa rated it really liked it
This book introduced me to the Owen Archer mystery series, and I must have enjoyed it, because I've read all the rest!
Antonello Piemonte
Oct 31, 2014 Antonello Piemonte rated it did not like it
Struggled to finish this one, nothing in the story or characters intrigued me. Haven't read any other book in the serie and at this point I do not plan to.
Viki rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2015
Aditya Aditya
Aditya Aditya rated it it was ok
Jun 09, 2013
Laura rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2016
Roberto Ibáñez
Roberto Ibáñez rated it really liked it
Jul 12, 2014
Natalie Mintz
Natalie Mintz rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2014
Darlene rated it really liked it
May 21, 2015
Mel Scherrep
Mel Scherrep rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2011
JCD rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2015
Bronwyn rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2016
RyooT rated it really liked it
May 31, 2016
Chandani rated it really liked it
Sep 13, 2014
Elizabeth rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2010
Celia rated it liked it
Oct 29, 2015
Carol rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Reeve's Tale (Sister Frevisse #9)
  • The Dragons of Archenfield (Domesday, #3)
  • Corpse Candle (Hugh Corbett, #13)
  • Brother Cadfael's Penance (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #20)
  • An Unholy Alliance (Matthew Bartholomew, #2)
  • The Weaver's Tale (Roger the Chapman, #3)
  • Shroud for the Archbishop (Sister Fidelma, #2)
AKA Emma Campion or Candace M. Robb
My novels are inspired by my study of the late Middle Ages in Northern Europe. My three mystery series feature medieval sleuths: the Kate Clifford mysteries debut in May 2016 with The Service of the Dead, set in York at the cusp of the 15th century with a strong, independent young widow forged on the warring northern marches. The Owen Archer mysteries are set in
More about Candace Robb...

Other Books in the Series

Owen Archer (10 books)
  • The Apothecary Rose (Owen Archer, #1)
  • The Lady Chapel (Owen Archer, #2)
  • The Nun's Tale (Owen Archer, #3)
  • The King's Bishop (Owen Archer, #4)
  • A Gift of Sanctuary (Owen Archer, #6)
  • A Spy for the Redeemer (Owen Archer, #7)
  • The Cross-Legged Knight (Owen Archer, #8)
  • The Guilt of Innocents (Owen Archer, #9)
  • A Vigil of Spies (Owen Archer, #10)

Share This Book