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Fortune Like the Moon (Hawkenlye Mysteries #1)

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  974 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
It is 1157, and a young nun from Hawkenlye Abbey has been found with her throat slashed. The people of rural Kent are quick to jump to conclusions: Surely the murderer must be one of the felons released by the new king, Richard Plantagenet, as a sign of his goodness and charity. When King Richard dispatches a soldier of fortune, Josse d'Acquin, to investigate the shockingl ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published 1999)
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Jul 09, 2015 Hannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2015-reads
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

First story in the series was ok, but can't hold a candle to Brother Cadfael.
FORTUNE LIKE THE MOON (Historical Mystery-England-1100s) – G+
Clare, Ayls – 1st in series
Hodder & Stoughton, 1999- Hardcover
*** Josse d’Acquin has been sent, by King Richard Plantagenet, to Hawkenlye Abbey. Hawkenlye was designed by Richard’s mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and is run by a woman, the Abbess Helewise. Richard, at the decision of this Mother, had all prisoners released in celebration of Richard’s coronation. Now a young nun has been brutally murdered and Josee is sent to fin
Delightful, light medieval mystery. Set in the time of Richard I of England.Two nuns in Abbess Helenwise's abbey of Hawkenlye are murdered under mysterious circumstances. Helenwise and the French knight, Sir Josse d'Acquin, team up to solve the crimes. They hope to prove that criminals set free under an amnesty did **not** kill these women. Very unexpected twists at the end. A fast read. This novel whetted my appetite for more in the series.
Jul 09, 2016 Gregoire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gregoire by: Jane
Plus une enquête policière sur deux crimes mystérieux qu'une réelle plongée dans le royaume du tout nouveau roi d'Angleterre Richard I
Par contre, une belle analyse psychologique (un peu dans le style d'Agatha Christie) des protagonistes et la rencontre de deux fortes intelligences : le français Josse d'Acquin et l’abbesse Helewise. Un nouveau couple à suivre si l'auteur arrive à renouveler ses intrigues dans d'autres directions que les problèmes affectifs qui, inutile de me rappeler, sont parmi
Nov 07, 2015 Taksya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primo romanzo di una autrice inglese che, in realtà, è lo pseudonimo di un'altra autrice famosa ma ignota. Siamo alla vigilia dell'incoronazione di Riccardo Cuordileone come Re di Inghilterra e, per la prima volta nella storia, il caro Riccardo è descritto in maniera disincantata e - anche - spietata, soprattutto rispetto alla figura romantica e generosa che ci viene tramandata dagli innumerevoli scritti, soprattutto legati alla leggenda di Robin Hood. Il povero Josse D’Aquin, soldato, nobile e, ...more
Oct 17, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-mystery, wcls
Who is killing the NUNS?!?!?! For pity's sake. That's heinous.

A true gentleman investigates with the wise and thoughtful and tough Abbess and the resolution is indeed satisfactory. Well, for the reader. Not so much for the deceased characters.
May 02, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susanna
O Fortunata!
velu Luna
Statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decresis

Oh, Fortune!
Like the moon, changing,
Forever waxing and waning...

From Carmina Burana

Good start for the first book of this series. 3,5 stars.
Aug 13, 2014 Keyreads rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
This was my first attempt at reading a medieval crime novel. Wasn't sure what to expect, but I actually enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
Ana Elena Romero
Novela de misterio ambientada en la Inglaterra del siglo XII, esta novela (primera de la saga) resuelve el misterioso asesinato de dos novicias en una abadía.
No puede decirse que se trate de una gran novela policíaca, puesto que su resolución no puede desprenderse de la sucesión de hechos e indicios expuestos durante el relato.
Es una simpática novela breve (quizá su mayor virtud) que se lee con facilidad y que resulta entretenida.
No obstante, para ser una saga, quizá le falta madurar mucho el p
Susan in NC
Mar 08, 2014 Susan in NC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I had read this first entry in the Hawkenlye series, but once I started reading it I realized I hadn't; I've since read and enjoyed some of the other books in the series and wanted to reacquaint myself with how the series started. Very well, it turns out, with few of the awkward, contrived tricks an author often uses to start a series - over explaining, too much background of characters and situations, where too much is told instead of shown.

A novice nun appears to have been brutally r
Kim Headlee
Jun 27, 2013 Kim Headlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Fortune Like the Moon is proof that a writer of medieval crime fiction can deliver something fresh," trumpets The Times of London on this novel's cover. Bless their biscuits, they're absolutely right.

In 1189, on the eve of her son Richard's coronation, Queen Eleanor -- think Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter -- opens England's jails and releases hundreds of prisoners as an act of Christian charity in the king-elect's name. But her canny public relations gambit threatens to backfire when
Jul 12, 2011 Marion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I read "Fortune Like the Moon" as part of my library's/work's summer reading program, A Medieval Knight's Read, and wasn't too sure of what to expect. While I enjoy watching many Medieval movies or television shows, I'm not one for reading about them. That being said, I greatly enjoyed the first of the Hawkenlye series. Taking my usual dislike for Medieval literature out of the equation, the mystery surrounding the novel was very well executed and the characters were well developed.

As readers w
Dec 29, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england, medieval
It is the summer of 1189 and King Richard I is about to take the throne. A young novice nun is found dead near the Hawkenlye Abbey. Surely the murder must be the work of one of the recently released convicts. Richard dispatches one of his soldiers, Josse D'Acquin to investigate. With the help of the Abbess Helewise, he finds something much more complicated.
The first of a series. Goodreads suggested this to me because of my reading Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series. Cadfael it is not, but qu
Jun 06, 2015 Cecily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-archive

This was (for a series of nun murders) a relatively 'lite' medieval whodunnit. One of the obvious limitations of having an Abbess as your sleuth is that, as a woman with responsibilities and living in a restricted world, her ability to investigate outside the Abbey or at any distance is virtually nil. So we need a male side-kick and in this instance we have the instinctive French knight Josse, to Helewise's calm logic and 'feel' for the crime. I really enjoyed it. There were not so many characte
Apr 12, 2011 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, library, 8-star
Richard Plantagenet, the second son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitane has unexpectedly succeeded to the throne of England on the death of his brother. Having spent most of his life in France, and hardly speaking English, his mother tries to pave the way for his acceptance. She recommends that he release all prisoners in a gesture of clemency. Shortly after this a nun is murdered at Hawkenlye Abbey and the king sends an investigator, Josse d'Acquin, to prove that the murder was not committed by ...more
The first in a series that is new to me set in the weald of Kent, close to Tonbridge, during the late 12th Century. Sir Josse d'Aquin is sent by new king, Richard 1st, to uncover the truth about the murder of a nun from nearby Hawkenlye Abbey, finding a wise and trusty ally in the Abbess Helewise.

This was an enjoyable read. The solutions were not too obvious and kept me guessing. The book was a little awkward in places, perhaps some of the conclusions were arrived at rather too readily, but thi
Sara Gale
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alissa Mccarthy
Apr 24, 2016 Alissa Mccarthy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t remember how I heard about this series but I had a devil of a time scaring up a copy to read. I read the entire thing over the course of a trip from Phoenix to Washington D.C and found it utterly delightful. I enjoyed it so much that I managed to find and order the second in the series during a layover in Detroit.
Aug 23, 2015 Nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
With so many books currently to read, i'm finding it ever more difficult to force myself to read a book that doesn't immediately grab me in one way or another. I'm finding this particularly a problem when it comes to historical mysteries - a genre I love dearly, however have recently been finding that some of its more popular and prolific authors are somewhat... less than satisfactory.

A chapter and a half in to this book and it has still done little beyond exposition, characterisation has been m
Katie Bee
May 15, 2016 Katie Bee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books-read
It's not Cadfael, of course. But this is a genuinely enjoyable book with strong central characters, and I'm definitely interested in reading more of the series.
Sep 01, 2011 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book I've read by this author (and the first in her Hawkenlye Mystery series). I was impressed enough by the tight plot to rate it 4 stars. I only rate books 5 stars when they're so good I feel the need to go out and buy them for my home collection. Only 242 pages long (a quick read for me) but thankfully, the author didn't feel the need to "bloat" the book to tell and complete the story. Good enough detail on the characters (especially on the Abbess) that I'm intrigued enough to searc ...more
Anne Slater
Oct 02, 2009 Anne Slater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of 12in the "Hawkenlye" series (I've read 5 with great delight) so I'm not going to review or list all 12.
This series begins in 1157, with 2 protagonists, male and female, who depend upon each other. The Old Religion (Earth-centered) is featured deeply and respectfully throughout. In fact a third important person in the series is a Priestess of the Old Religion (it doesn't have a name that I recall, but that's what I call it).
She has another series set a couple of decades earli
Kay Webb
Jul 22, 2010 Kay Webb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
12th century France & England. Henry II has just died and Richard Plantagenet is preparing for his coronation.

Most of the action takes place at and around Hawkenlye Abbey, a nunnery near the town of Tonbridge, which is on the road from Hastings to London.

I really liked the first book of this mystery series because it has many of the elements that made Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael books so enjoyable for me: interesting characters from all levels of the society, everyday happenings that inte
Karen Newman
Apr 10, 2015 Karen Newman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If medieval mystery interests you, this is a good series.
Fred Rauch
Sep 12, 2015 Fred Rauch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of many adventures of Abbess Helewise and Josse d'Aquin. I have read several others in the series and finally got to read book 1. I enjoy the entire series. She is worldly and he is charming. Together they make a great pair of sleuths. It is a fairly easy read. Then there are the last 5 pages. OMG, I did not see that coming. The mystery has been solved, the killer hung (after all it is England in the 1100's) and then the ending. WOW! No spoiler alert as you will have to read it ...more
Val Sanford
Though to start, I ended up liking this book, and the medieval Abbess and young knight challenged by King Richard to discover the truth behind a vicious killing of a young novice. Then another nun is found dead before they can learn the truth. Lies, greed, and fear are at the heart of these murders. The plot is a bit too twisty for me; too many sudden revelations but the story holds together and is a clever first book. I look forward to more mysteries to solve with Sir Josse and Abbess Helewise.
Aug 05, 2014 Lynne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Set in the time of Richard the Lionhearted, Sir Josse d'Acquin teams up with Abbess Helewise of Hawkenlye Abbey to find the killer of two young nuns. This is an interesting tale with a completely unexpected final twist. I thought it very interesting, and there was no jarringly un-historical outakes - the story held together with the technology of the time. The author spins a fine tale, and I'm reading another of this series because I liked it.
I enjoyed this little medieval tale of unrequited love, murder and general mayhem. The author actually does a competent job of establishing the times (1157)of Abbess Helewise and Josse d'Acquin, her unlikely detective team. But as the sleuths unravel what are presumed to be the murders of two nuns, it's as if a 19th century Holmes and Watson were being interpreted by Basil Rathbone himself. Still, a fun read for an easy-going summer's day.
Jan 22, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
An historical mystery that takes place in the early reign of Richard the Lionheart. Queen Eleanor convinces her son Richard to send someone to investigate the death of a novice at Hawkenlye Abbey. He sends one of his soldiers - Josse D'Acquin - to England to solve the mystery. Josse meets the Abbess Helewise and a new crime-solving partnership is born.
A quick read but a goodread none the less.
Jan 20, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Trish for the recommendation! I don't know if I'd find this book as charming if I didn't have a special relationship with some awesome nuns, but I do, and so I did. And mysteries set in 1189? A perfect way to occupy me until the last season of The Tudors comes out. Expect to see more of this series on my Goodreads list.
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Alys Clare is the pen name used by Elizabeth Harris for the Hawkenlye series of historical mysteries.

Alys Clare is the pseudonym of a novelist with some 20 published works to her name. Brought up in the countryside close to where the Hawkenlye Novels are set, she went to school in Tonbridge and later studied archaeology at the University of Kent. She lives for part of the year in Brittany, in a re
More about Alys Clare...

Other Books in the Series

Hawkenlye Mysteries (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Ashes of the Elements (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #2)
  • The Tavern in the Morning (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #3)
  • The Chatter of the Maidens (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #4)
  • The Faithful Dead (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #5)
  • A Dark Night Hidden (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #6)
  • Whiter Than the Lily (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #7)
  • Girl in a Red Tunic (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #8)
  • Heart of Ice (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #9)
  • The Enchanter's Forest (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #10)
  • The Paths of the Air (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #11)

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