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Belladonna at Belstone (Knights Templar #8)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  423 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
It is 1321, and Lady Elizabeth of Topsham, prioress of St. Mary's, is fighting to retain her position in the face of devastating opposition. She has been accused by Sister Margherita, St. Mary's treasurer, of giving much-needed funds to the new vicar, a man she often sees alone at night. Many of the nuns are convinced that Margherita would make a better prioress—especially ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Headline Book Publishing (first published December 2nd 1999)
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Jan 18, 2009 KC rated it it was ok
Every possible medieval stereotype presented in a traditional mystery format. This kind of book is my crack: the high is brief and it doesn't exactly deliver any nourishment. The best/most ridiculous part is that the usual modern detective story lingo is simply juxtaposed onto the medieval The Name of the Rose-type vocabulary, ie "The investigator considered the case before him. 'We have to treat the cellarer and the blood-letter as suspects in this murder,' he said, adjusting his woolen tunic a ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Mirjam rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A very exciting read! Lots of sinners, intrigue and killers in a nunnery. Baldwin is having a hard time, but luckily Simon is there to help him out. I greatly enjoyed this whodunit and applaud Jecks for yet another wonderful addition to the Knights Templar series.
Jun 29, 2008 Carmen rated it really liked it
Another great installment of Michael Jeck's medevial mystery series. this book is not only entertaining, but I believe I am really understanding the culture of the times.
Just didn't do it for me. I just didn't care about anyone in the story for some reason.
Simon Mcleish
Sep 06, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in October 2000.

In this series, Michael Jecks has certainly been keen to show readers some of the negative aspects of medieval institutions; we've had a leper hospital, now it's a convent where lax morality is accompanied by poverty. Not all monastic establishments were hugely rich, though that is the obvious impression to be gained from what has survived - the huge scale of ruins like St Augustine's Priory, Canterbury, Thetford Priory, Fountains and Rievaulx
Michael Jecks
Nov 16, 2011 Michael Jecks rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-own
I spent a long time researching this book, and it was quite a startling investigation!
There are many in America who have complained that I have something against the Church because I am so unkind to the nuns at this convent. Some have decried my writing as a result. Well, all I can say is, when I write, you get the story warts and all. Every instance I mention in this book happened to nuns in one of two convents in the Bishopric of Devon and Cornwall. They were taken from the visitation reports
Andy Millen
Jun 19, 2014 Andy Millen rated it really liked it
Once again, Michael Jecks comes up trumps with this belter of a Mystery. Kept me guessing right until the end.
Well plotted, researched and dispelling a few myths about Nuns in the period too. Sweetness and light? hmm
Looking forward to the next one now.
David Serxner
Mar 13, 2008 David Serxner rated it it was amazing
I get Michael Jeck's books sent to me from by my family in England, as I do not know if you can get them in the States. He does his research. The books are excellent--very well written. I like a good mystery, and these most certainly are!
Apr 14, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
Skipped books 5, 6 & 7 as I read them some years ago & have only just managed to find this volume.
Exellent so far
Apr 27, 2009 Wazz rated it really liked it
book 8
BELLADONNA AT BELSTONE (Hist. Mys-Furnshill/Puttock-England-1321) – G+
Jecks, Michael – 8th in series
Headline, 1999, UK Hardcover – ISBN; 0747274029

First Sentence: She was lucky not to have died.

Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keep of the King’s Peace, and Bailiff Simon Puttock have been summoned by Bishop Bertrand, the representative of Bishop of Stapledon, to go to St. Mary’s Priory. One nun has been injured, another has died. Bishop Baldwin received a letter from Sister Margherita, the treasurer, accus
Jul 25, 2016 Bob rated it liked it
The King's Keeper of the Peace. Sir Baldwin Furnshill and his the friend Bailiff Simon Puttock have been requested to travel to the Convent of St. Mary's to investigate the suspicious death of one of the novices. St. Mary's houses both nuns and monks but is in ill repair and there is a great laxity in following he rules of the orders. The book is set in the 1312 and contains a glossary of terms for the various parts of the Convent and the positions an duties of the people residing there. Sir ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Helle rated it really liked it
To me Belladonna at Belstone shows a surprising insight in medieval cloister life. Michael Jecks seriously upset my view that the occupants were pious, worthy, generally nice creatures, living a quiet life serving God and the community. At Belstone all kinds of sins take place, escalating in the worst of all: murder.

As always, Jecks did some thorough research to set this somewhat unusual background for this mystery. The story itself is solid, well-paced and amusing, with a nice diversity of char
Nancy Ellis
Mar 20, 2014 Nancy Ellis rated it really liked it
Another entertaining adventure of Simon the bailiff and Sir Baldwin as they are called in to assist the Bishop in the investigation of a murder at a convent. This convent is quite the place....sounds more like my old sorority house! Lots of goings-on, with suspicions of embezzlement by the prioress and more murders! Simon is more or less left on his own to solve the mysteries after Sir Baldwin is hit on the head with a piece of falling slate and spends the majority of the book in the infirmary. ...more
Jim Corbiere
May 24, 2014 Jim Corbiere rated it really liked it
Another great medieval murder mystery by Michael Jecks. A great series and each novel in the series is great. After eight of them the stories are still strong and do not get stale. Jecks has improved so much since the first book in the series and I look forward to reading the others. He truly knows how to tell a story and keep you guessing on who is guilty. It really does help to know some history about the time these stories take place and to know some vocabulary from the times as well, but you ...more
Nov 20, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-2013
An intriguing medieval murder mystery set in 1321 in the fictional St Mary's Priory in Dartmoor, where Keeper of the King's Peace Sir Baldwin Furnshill and his friend, bailiff Simon Puttock, are sent to investigate the murder of a young novice. They soon find that none of the nuns there is as above reproach as one might think and the place is rife with corruption and secrets while accusations and suspicions run wild. Surprisingly hard to put down, and I really couldn't guess the killer at any ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
In this historical mystery, it is 1321, and at St. Mary's Priory at Belstone, on Dartmoor, the Prioress, Lady Elizabeth, is accused of incompetence (and worse), and one of her novices has died under suspicious circumstances. The Bishop of Exeter is off to the convent to investigate, accompanied by Sir Baldwin Furnshill, the local Keeper of the King's Peace, and Simon Puttock, the local Bailiff. Meanwhile, England at large verges ever nearer to civil war - the king, Edward II, is incompetent and ...more
Deborah Pickstone
I almost gave up on this one. It picked up towards the end but the miscreant was pointed out at the beginning by dint of the author pointing out unnecessarily that she was a good and harmless person then setting everyone ELSE up with motives. I wonder if I will give up on this series - and it's such a long one, how disappointing! There was an awful lot of 'suspending disbelief' involved in finishing this episode also; I am happy to do that if beguiled by a good storyteller - but not when I am ...more
Apr 16, 2014 Lawrence rated it it was ok
Just ok. A little convoluted and highly fantastical. Also a little like a gory melodrama with suspense and madness thrown in. I suspect that Mr. Jecks has a low opinion of the church of the Middle Ages (which would be no surprise), but also a low opinion of women as he portrays them as so weirdly self-involved and nasty. The men, on the other hand, are, with two exceptions, very nice. Anyway, I stayed with it because I wanted to know whodunnit.
Aug 08, 2014 Roseruf rated it liked it
Usually when you start reading a historical/mystery series like this, after 3-4 books the characters became boring, they do things always in the same way, they don't evolve, became static and predictable. This is not the case in this Michaels Jecks' series. I keep reading and reading and the books keep being entertaining. This are a series of good novels nice to read and without great ambitions that will make you have a nice time wile enjoining a well plotted story in a well documented setting.
Feb 18, 2015 Cindy rated it it was ok
Murder at a medieval convent. I enjoyed this one. The plot was solid and the setting was good. I just felt it went on a little too long and kind of slowed down a bit. The main drawback was that it was full of sex! Every single nun, it seemed, was breaking her vows with someone. I found it a little hard to believe.
Linda Humberstone
Dec 08, 2014 Linda Humberstone rated it liked it
Shelves: just-read
Another intriguing little medieval 'who dunnit' gem from Michael Jecks. It highlights what life was like in a small priory including all the major sins. An enjoyable well thought out story that doesn't disappoint.
Bill Meehan
Feb 22, 2016 Bill Meehan rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bill by: Norby
Shelves: owned-fiction
My favorite of the first 8 in the series. Was very hard to put down, exciting from beginning to end.
Nov 02, 2010 Cynthiaj rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Interesting look at life in a "cloister" albeit not a well functioning one...As a mystery it didn't make me want the next one....
Marts  (Thinker)
Michael Jecks' historical mystery series 'Knights Templar'. This volume: Knights Templar #8 - Belladonna at Belstone.
Ruth M
Oct 29, 2012 Ruth M rated it did not like it
I really hated this book and had to force myself to finish- the characters did not seem consistent in character and often had characteristics of 21st century ideals.
Jindalay rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2015
Steve Smyth
Steve Smyth rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2013
Marianne Luginbuhl
Marianne Luginbuhl rated it really liked it
Mar 17, 2016
Astarte rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2012
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Michael Jecks is a best-selling writer of historical novels. The son of an Actuary, and the youngest of four brothers, he worked in the computer industry before becoming a novelist full time in 1994

He is the author of the internationally popular Templar series, perhaps the longest crime series written by a living author. Unusually, the series looks again at actual events and murders committed abou
More about Michael Jecks...

Other Books in the Series

Knights Templar (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • The Last Templar (Knights Templar, #1)
  • The Merchant's Partner (Knights Templar, #2)
  • A Moorland Hanging  (Knights Templar, #3)
  • The Crediton Killings (Knights Templar, #4)
  • The Abbot's Gibbet (Knights Templar, #5)
  • The Leper's Return (Knights Templar, #6)
  • Squire Throwleigh's Heir (Knights Templar, #7)
  • The Traitor of St Giles (Knights Templar, #9)
  • The Boy-Bishop's Glovemaker (Knights Templar, #10)
  • The Tournament of Blood (Knights Templar, #11)

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