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The Servant's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #2)
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The Servant's Tale (Sister Frevisse #2)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  996 ratings  ·  40 reviews
From the author of The Novice's Tale, a new Sister Frevisse medieval mystery. It's not a very merry Christmas for the sisters of St. Frideswide when they welcome a troupe of actors in from the cold . . . and open the nunnery door to murder.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Berkley (first published 1993)
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Karen Brooks
I quite enjoyed this medieval murder mystery, part of a series written by Frazer and featuring the clever and intrepid nun, Sister Frevisse who, it happens, was a great-niece of Geoffrey Chaucer. Though this is the second book in the series, it’s the first I’ve read and it stands alone nicely.
Steeped in historic detail that deposits you in the period easily (approx 1430s), the pace of life and religiosity of not only the nuns who share the nunnery with Frevisse, but the villagers as well is des
This is a formulaic mystery set in a convent. Sister Frevisse is the detective and the time frame and place is Medieval England. There are the usual impoverished peasants living short and brutal lives; omnipresent cold in winter when one must build and stoke the fire constantly; inhumane lords; paltry meals and the sanctuary of the church with its attendant convent which is always clean and mostly warm. The Sisters are an assorted lot of complaining and uncomplaning women many of whom take care ...more
Kathy Davie
An Edgar Award-nominee, it's second in the Sister Frevisse medieval mystery series based in a nunnery, St. Frideswide, near Prior Byfield outside Oxfordshire. The story revolves around Dame Frevisse, one of the nuns in the year of Our Lord 1434 at Christmastide.

Interestingly enough, Basset and his traveling troupe appear in this installment (from her Joliffe the Player series that begins with

A Play of Isaac


My Take
It's a woman's worries about her family. Keeping them safe. It's ignoranc
Ana T.
"Frazer's ( The Novice's Tale ) second Sister Frevisse mystery returns to St. Frideswide's, the 15th-century English nunnery, where the priory's hosteler and amateur sleuth has three murders on her hands between Christmas and Epiphany. First is villager Barnaby Shene, brought to St. Frideswide's by a troupe of traveling players claiming to have found him in a ditch. Barnaby's son Sym accuses the players of robbing his father in ambush, and when Sym turns up dead, the players are further suspect. ...more
Alison Dellit
Shifting focus to the village, the book is effective at contrasting the very difficult lives of the indentured villagers to those of the nuns and the well-to-do. As can often be a casualty in this genre, the overall effect of the story is to somewhat imply that this plight turns people into murderous and slightly insane types, but I'm not sure how you avoid that.
My main complaint was that the plot twists were so obvious, our clever nun appeared positively dense.
Jill Holmes
A great mystery tale set in very old, merry olde England. Dame Frevisse puts her wits to work again in trying to understand who committed multiple murders just when a group of players arrived at St. Frideswide's Priory at Christmastide circa 1430. She finds the complicated pasts of the actors (the very lowest of the low in English society at that time) evoke suppressed memories of her own childhood. Despite the season and the celebration of the new year and Twelfth Night, everyone is grumpy from ...more
Katie Bee
The ending on this one was unexpectedly dark, although I did have an inkling in the back of my head about who'd done at least one of the murders. I love spending time with these characters, and I like that they're developing (this is a year and some months after Novice's Tale).
Rich in character development, especially so for the protagonist, Sister Frevisse. Excellent plot with exacting imagery of a bleak December in a medieval English convent.
Catherine  Mustread
Enjoyed this second book in the Sister Frevisse series, especially because of the tie-in with the Joliffe series, though this book takes place in 1434, some two years before the Joliffe the Player series begins. The historical context is great – in fact, greater than the mystery. Frazer (actually a pseudonym), narrows down the suspects and though there is a slight twist at the end, it's not much of a surprise. ...more
Parallel to Brother Cadfield mysteries. Medieval England.. Nice, easy relaxation!
Dennis Fischman
A lovely book about a strong, independent woman's struggle to be at one with her convent community and with her God. Oh yes, and there's a murder mystery thrown in for good measure. I read it in one afternoon.
I love very much historical fiction, especially set in the Middle Ages, by far my favorite period.

My favorite series is The Cadfael Chronicles. When I was done with them, I looked for something similar and discovered the Sister Frevisse series. It’s well documented, and fun. Easy read, good suspense.
I love very much historical fiction, especially set in the Middle Ages, by far my favorite period.

Original post:

Emma @ Words And Peace
Figured it out 2\3 in.
A nice escape, quick read, engaging characters.
Bill Bradford
Some of the earlier Frevisse novels show very clearly her internal struggles with adapting to life as a nun, and this one does an excellent job. It also lays some groundwork for relationships that further develop as the series continues. Most notably it introduces Joliffe, who now has his own series. Well paced, the story has an unusual twist (although it does give ample clues). As usual great care is given to the historical accuracy.
N Laffey
I'm reading this book because I've read others in the series. Hardcore medieval nuns usually makes for good reading. This time I think I figured out "who done it" before the murder actually occurred. Am I fabulously intelligent or just too used to this author's style? Regardless, it's a decent read but maybe not the first one you should pick up.
I enjoyed this mystery. It's set more outside of the convent than the first Dame Frevisse mystery, but she still manages to maintain her keen eye on what's happening. It also has a very good point about how dangerous a little knowledge can be. I loved the players, and I loved Sister Frevisse for her willingness to trust them.
I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series, and Frazer is a good storyteller, drawing you into Frevisse's world. While I was able to spot the murderer early on, the writing was good enough to keep me interested until the end of the book, and I will continue reading others in the series.
This was certainly a sad story. The ending took me by surprise.
While I enjoyed Sister Frevisse as always, I can tell that this is early in the series. The murderer was a bit too predictable. However, I liked learning more about Frevisse's family (traveling players, as well as her connections to the Chaucer family).
Frazer’s clues were so obvious I was certain she was tossing out a red herring. As it turns out...she's just that obvious folks. The ending was 100% predictable. What Frazer lacks in imagination she makes up for with her finely drawn characters.
Miriam Holsinger
A good mystery - definitely a bit different. The story developed a bit slow as the writer describes in detail interesting historical bits about what life was like then. I'm curious to see who she adjusts this in other ones of this series.
Kilian Metcalf
It's fun to go back and visit early books by a beloved author. I enjoy watching her develop her craft. Joliffe and the other players come into the story much earlier than I remembered. Can't wait for their next appearance.
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eh, this was ok. it was pretty easy to figure out who-dunnit... but it's nice to have a murder mystery set far enough back in time that the clues are no-tech, nevermind lo-tech.
The first and favorite. Her description of the bounty of a single orange is just one example of Frazer's exquisite understanding of time and place and character.
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The second in the Sister Frevisse series was even better than the first. Okay, I'm hooked. And it rereads even better a year later.
I read these books some time ago. I enjoyed the mix of historical fiction and mystery.
Sarah Messick-Milone
This one was pretty sad and relatively predictable, yet still a good read.
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Margaret Frazer is a pen name used at first by Mary Monica Pulver Kuhfeld and Gail Lynn Frazer writing in tandem for a series of historical medieval mysteries featuring Dame Frevisse. After the sixth novel, the works are written by Gail Frazer alone, and the name has subsequently been used exclusively by her. A second series of novels by Ms Frazer set in the same time and place feature the player/ ...more
More about Margaret Frazer...

Other Books in the Series

Sister Frevisse (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1)
  • The Outlaw's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #3)
  • The Bishop's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #4)
  • The Boy's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #5)
  • The Murderer's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #6)
  • The Prioress' Tale (Sister Frevisse, #7)
  • The Maiden's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #8)
  • The Reeve's Tale (Sister Frevisse #9)
  • The Squire's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #10)
  • The Clerk's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #11)
The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1) The Bishop's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #4) A Play of Isaac (Joliffe the Player, #1) The Sempster's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #15) The Reeve's Tale (Sister Frevisse #9)

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