Death Comes As Epiphany (Catherine LeVendeur, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Death Comes As Epiphany (Catherine LeVendeur #1)

by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,092 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Catherine LeVendeur is a young scholar come to conquer her sin of pride at the Convent of the Paraclete, famous for learning, prayer, and its abbess, the fabled Heloise. When a manuscript the convent produced for the great Abbe Suger disappears, rumors surface saying the book contains sacrilegious passages and will be used to condemn Heloise's famous lover, Peter Abelard.T...more
Paperback, 319 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Forge (first published 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
93rd out of 953 books — 2,290 voters
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
124th out of 571 books — 616 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,934)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Clif Hostetler
A quick look (not necessarily exhaustive or complete) through the list of those who have read this book on Goodreads.com shows that I may be the only person of male gender to have read this book. Hmmm, Oh well, I enjoyed it anyway. It's a murder mystery, historical novel (12th Century France), romance and thriller all rolled into one. However, the medieval setting gives the book a mood and tone that will never be found in a modern mystery-romance-thriller novel. It helps for the reader to be fam...more
Joyce Lagow
There is a full blown sub genre in mystery writing that is devoted to the historical mystery . It most likely was started off by Umberto Eco's vastly popular The Name of the Rose, which was turned into a great movie. Then somewhere along about this time came Ellis Peters and her Brother Cadfel medieval mysteries, set in England at the time of the Maude/Stephen civil wars in the early 12th century. The field quickly filled until today we have crimes being solved in fiction ranging from post World...more
Courtney
I adore ecclesiastical mysteries. It began with with the Brother Cadfael series and ran wild from there.

This book had two things going for it: an amazing heroine, and a. beautifully layered mystery. Catherine would be right at home alongside Galileo' s daughters. She's that rarity in the medieval world: intelligent *and* educated. Her piety is somewhat underdeveloped,, but the true lure of the convent for Catherine lay in books: reading writing, assembling. And it is a book that lands Catherine...more
Felicity
Jun 13, 2009 Felicity rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of well-crafted historical mystery
Recommended to Felicity by: Sara M. & Camille A.
An engrossing plot, charming heroine and intriguing historical details. The main characters were well-drawn and likeable, and the use of Heloise and Abelard did not seem ponderous or contrived (as use of historical personages in fiction sometimes does.) I liked the thorough depiction of the culture, especially the way people's belief in the supernatural was pervasive and convincing.

My only quibble was with the occasional forays into the perspective of secondary characters. I felt it added little...more
Elizabeth
There's so much more of a gamble making your main character a young unmarried woman in a time when women had few rights and if they came from families with money, their movements were even more restricted.

Catherine has been living in an abbey for 3 years with the intention of becoming a nun. Her Mother Superior asks her to pretend to leave the abbey in disgrace to track down a book the abbey produced in honor of a controversial religious figure. Its been rumored that this book has been defaced...more
Sarah
Aug 29, 2007 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction, mystery readers
Shelves: historical, mystery
Amazing. Makes 12th-century France seem very alive and real, and avoids the trap of making characters in a historical novel paragons of the modern day. Later novels fall off in quality, but this one is absolutely top-notch.
Teresa
I read this years ago and remember really enjoying it...there was also a romance, which just added to its appeal :) Very firmly entrenched in the medieval period, yet still accessible to all contemporary readers.
Elena Santangelo
Sharan Newman shows her amazing expertise in this era of history, but this isn't all dry facts. Fast paced story, great characters and a satisfying mystery and romance.
Kelsey
Do you like…?
• The Middle Ages
• Mystery
• Historical fiction
• Intelligent, zealous, and innocent heroines
• Mysticism
• France
• Sean Connery in Goldfinger The Name of the Rose

Then you’ll like this book.

My Medieval Studies professor recommended this as a good example of a realistic medieval setting. She was true to her word: Newman slips in interesting facts without once appearing pedantic. We learn about cures for ailments, religious rituals, strained race relations, and chivalrous tournaments as e...more
Heather
This book was, obviously, a really fast read for me. I couldn't make myself put it down, actually. Every spare moment (and some moments that weren't spare) I was reading it.

The characterization was great! I loved both Edgar and Catherine, as well as the minor and more secondary characters. Someone who is interested in everything being perfectly, historically accurate would probably not appreciate some of the things the author did - certain of the characters express some rather modern views. Howe...more
April
I thought I would end up enjoying this book since the beginning of it was so strong. The characters seemed interesting and the portrayals of medieval life appeared well researched. I was looking forward to a nice medieval mystery novel. But somewhere in the middle of the book, the mystery and logic got lost. Or maybe I just got turned off by the over-sexed Satanist that appeared mid-way that solicited Catherine (I literally cracked up laughing at that part and I'm sure the author had not meant f...more
Anita
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela
Catherine LeVendeur is a young scholar come to conquer her sin of pride at the Convent of the Paraclete, a convent famous for learning and prayer, and its abbess, the fabled Heloise.

When a manuscript that the convent produced for the great Abbé Suger disappears, rumors surface that the book contains sacrilegious passages and will be used to condemn Heloise's famous lover, Peter Abelard.

To save her Order and protect all she holds dear, Catherine must find the manuscript and discover who has alter
...more
Ana T.
A medievalist breathes life and vigour into the scholastic debates and religious controversies of 12th-century France in this entrancing mystery debut. Catherine LeVendeur, a young novice and scholar at the Convent of the Paraclete, is sent by the Abbess Heloise on a perilous mission to find out who is trying to destroy the reputation of the convent and, through it, that of the abbess's onetime lover and patron, theologian Peter Abelard. A Psalter created at the convent and given as a gift to th...more
Michelle
I love all of the books in the Catherine LeVendeur series, but will just write a review of this one since it's the first.

These books are set in the 1100s in France. I love learning about that period of time and what a family's routine might have been like. I also love the historic figures that make appearances - getting to learn about them.

Specifically about the series - so well written and interesting. The heroine is a very smart, independent, and deeply religious woman. For the Catholics of t...more
LJ
DEATH COMES AS AN EPIPHANY - Okay
Newman, Sharan - 1st in Catherine LeVendeur series

Catherine LeVendeur, a young novice and scholar at the Convent of the Paraclete, is sent by the Abbess Heloise on a perilous mission to find out who is trying to destroy the reputation of the convent and, through it, that of the abbess's onetime lover and patron, theologian Peter Abelard. A psalter created at the convent and given as a gift to the powerful abbot Suger of Saint-Denis is later rumored to contain her...more
Sandie
I read this book because a friend lent it to me and because I was interested in the story of Heloise and Abelard. Their story is a background for the book and it stays in the background. The main character is Catherine LeVendeur, an intellectual young women from a prosperous family, who is studying to become a nun. When a psalter written by the convent Heloise runs is defaced, it threatens to destroy her reputation, and she sends Catherine to find out what is going on. As Catherine does so, she...more
Sarah Adamson
I was very hopeful that this book would be a female version of Ellis Peters Cadfael or something even better - and I was not disappointed.
This book features a 12th century nun-novice in France. The book explores the amazing history, relationships, religious beliefs and everyday life whilst also embarking on a great mystery story. I really enjoyed this book and will be on the lookout for more by this very talented author.
melydia
Catherine LeVendeur is a novice nun who, while devoted to God, is more interested in the fact that living in a convent allows her to study and learn. When a psalter she helped write is defiled, the abbess sends her home to discover the vandal. In the midst of this she is swept up in a mystery of murder, theft, and vanity, as well as a timid budding romance with a secretive man. I enjoyed this one, which surprised me a little since I'm not much of a mystery reader, but I think what fascinated me...more
Kate Forsyth
I’ve always had a soft spot for a medieval murder mystery, thanks no doubt to all the Cadfael books I read as a teenager. Sharan Newman is a new author for me (always a risk), but I enjoyed this very much and am planning to get the next in the series.

The story revolves around Catherine LeVendeur, a headstrong and clever young woman who has been sent to the Convent of the Paraclete, famous for its abbess, the fabled Heloise. When a manuscript created by the convent disappears, Heloise asks Cathe...more
Paula
This was a fun, light read. Set in 1139 France, Catherine LeVendeur is a novice nun who has not yet taken her final vows. She is at the Convent of the Paraclete studying under the abbess Heloise. Catheine had a part in preparing a manuscript for Abbe' Sugar that has disappeared and word is that the manuscript has been defaced with heresy. Catherine is sent back to her family from the convent in the disguise of a disgraced nun, but in reality is on a mission to find the missing manuscript and det...more
Lady Knight
It's been years since I last read a Catherine LeVendeur mystery and honestly I'd forgotten just how enjoyable a read they are! Are there flaws? Admittedly there is the odd plot hole... but they're minor and unless you're on a re-read, you're too caught up in the story to notice. The characters are dynamic, the setting is unusual and wonderful, and best of all we get a great mystery written by a scholar (the ultimate history buff) but without the pretensions.

All in all this is definitely a winne...more
Wendy Kobylarz-Chouvarda
This medieval mystery has a modern slant. Not in an obnoxious way, but in its writing: thankfully it's not written in some pretend version of Olde English (which I've encountered in other novels). It is a little anachronistic but much less irritating than the occasional
'twas and thee and so forth to give it that medieval flavor.
It wasn't the best as a mystery, though the twist was a bit of a surprise (not a huge one, but something of one), but the characters are nicely drawn and those who are s...more
Jane
Oh, another sassy knows-her-own-mind-and-speaks-it heroine from an age in which women had no voice unless they were queens or abbesses.
Still, not a bad read at all.
Dawn
This is book one in a historical mystery series set in 12th century France. The main character is Catherine LeVendeur, daughter to a wealthy merchant and novice at the Convent of the Paraclete.
When the abbess requests that she return home in disgrace in order to determine who is trying to discredit their convert, Catherine agrees. Through murder and madness, love and narrow escapes, Catherine resolves to solve the mysteries she has encountered and she does it with humour, determination and lots...more
Jennifer Schneider
I read this book for a book club, and while I don't think it was exactly poorly written, I didn't enjoy it either. I had hopes for it when it started, as I've been to Paris and seen the tomb of Heloise and Abelard, and thought it might be fun to read fiction about them. But the story was slow, the characters weren't interesting, and everything that happened seemed so far-fetched and forced. Catherine was supposed to be this amazingly smart woman, but she spent the whole novel getting injured or...more
Debbie
Set in 12th century France, this features Catherine, a young novice and scholar at the Convent of the Paraclete, who is sent by the Abbess Heloise on a perilous mission to find out who is trying to destroy the reputation of the convent and, through it, that of the abbess’s onetime lover and patron, theologian Peter Abelard.

I was uncomfortable with the amount of religious rigmarole, the “right’ of the church, and the solution: madness – or something darker? 3 stars

Read this if: you would enjoy a...more
Jenifer Rosenberg
I picked this up because the idea of a mystery set in 12th century France was appealing. I had no idea how in-depth and captivating it would turn out to be! Newman manages to flawlessly interweave historical fact with some of the most interesting fictional characters I have seen in a while. Her work is obviously very carefully researched, and it's amazing how she manages to bring true human faces to a time period so long ago. As soon as i finished this one, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the...more
Kayt
Catherine is given a task by the abbess of the nunnery she hope to enter, to find out who is editing books to make them look like the authors are heretical. Catherine therefore leaves the nunnery, has a great many run-ins with various family members, and meets a mysterious young man.

If you couldn't tell by my lackluster description, I found this only an "okay" book. I liked it, but it seemed to be far too verbose without anything actually happening in the story, despite Catherine as a bright and...more
Vicki Cline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 97 98 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fortune Like the Moon (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #1)
  • The Apothecary Rose (Owen Archer, #1)
  • The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1)
  • A Plague on Both Your Houses (Matthew Bartholomew, #1)
  • The Alehouse Murders (Templar Knight Mystery, #1)
  • Death and the Chapman (Roger the chapman, #1)
  • Remedy For Treason (Chronicles Of Issac Of Girona, #1)
  • A Mortal Bane (Magdalene La Batarde, #1)
  • Satan in St Mary's (Hugh Corbett, #1)
  • The Unquiet Bones (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #1)
  • Absolution by Murder (Sister Fidelma, #1)
  • Veil of Lies (Crispin Guest, #1)
  • The Queen's Man
  • Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery, #1)
  • The Harper's Quine (Gilbert Cunningham, #1)
  • Hangman Blind (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery, #1)
50581
Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her e...more
More about Sharan Newman...
The Devil's Door (Catherine LeVendeur, #2) Strong As Death (Catherine LeVendeur, #4) The Wandering Arm (Catherine LeVendeur, #3) The Difficult Saint (Catherine LeVendeur, #6) Cursed in the Blood (Catherine LeVendeur, #5)

Share This Book

“Catherine Le Vendeur," he asked sententiously, "have you known this man carnally?"
"No father," Catherine answered. "But, with your kind permission, I would very much like to.”
5 likes
More quotes…