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The Raven in the Foregate (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #12)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,738 ratings  ·  83 reviews
It is Christmas, A.D. 1141, Abbot Radulfus returns from London, bringing with him a priest for the vacant living of Holy Cross, also known as the Foregate. The new priest is a man of presence, learning, and discipline, but he lacks humility and the common touch. When he is found drowned in the millpond, suspicion is cast upon a young man who arrived with the priest's train ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Mysterious Press (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

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In December, 1141, the wheel has spun again, and this time left Stephen on the throne, if shakily. He begins shoring up his lead by gathering ecclesiastical and worldly authorities together to support him. This means that Abbot Radulfus has to go first, to (another!) legatine council, and then Hugh Beringar has to go off to a meeting of sheriffs, barons, etc...with the chance that he won't be confirmed in his post, which (you'll recall if you've read the earlier books) he inherited rather irregu ...more
Medieval clergy at their worst, and Cadfael at his best. Is it possible he will fail to unravel this skein and innocents will suffer? Read on.

Cadfael series: excellent historical fiction. Ellis Peters draws the reader into the twelfth century with modern story telling but holds us there with a richness of detail which evokes a time and place which might as well be mythic. Though the foreground of each chronicle is a murder mystery, behind it a nation and a culture are woven in a wondrous tapestr
King Stephen is back on the throne of England but Brother Cadfael and company are more concerned with a local death. This is the first book in the series that I have actually read and, while I did miss Patrick Tull's narration, the mix of history and mystery along with the great characters made it an enjoyable and quick read.
1st Recorded Reading: December 2003

I thought this one a very good addition to the series; the fact that this is one of the ones I had read before (in December of 2003) did not detract from my reading, as I could not remember who had done the dastardly deed of murder (as you can hardly have a Brother Cadfael mystery without at least one dead body). Brother Cadfael also does his bit to help young love, but they hardly need his help this time, except to use his workshop down by the herb garden as a
This might be the Cadfael book that I like the least. For two reasons: 1) the character of Father Ailnoth is abhorrent and completely without compassion. And 2) I personally have a hard time separating the book's plot from the BBC/PBS adaptation's plot. I have strong memories of characters and events from the TV adaptation that are not in the book so the story becomes a bit of a muddle. (Most of the TV adaptations were pretty faithful to the books.) I think the TV Raven sticks with me more than ...more
Masterfully written! A new parish priest, selected to replace one known to be too lenient, proves to be distressingly severe. When he is found dead, it seems that everyone in the village has some legitimate grievance or motive to murder! Cadfael's examination of the evidence and the hearts is reminiscent of a "Cold Case" episode: the spotlight of suspicion falls on each one in turn, only to move on--and back again! Not until the final pages, when the whole village has assembled for the funeral, ...more
Shortly before Christmas in 1141, elderly Father Adam - the vicar of the parish of Holy Cross in the Foregate - passes away. Father Adam had been well liked. Abbot Radulfus brings Father Ailnoth to town as Father Adam's replacement. Unfortunately, Father Ailnoth quickly makes a number of enemies. During the evening of Christmas Eve, he is seen running off out of the Foregate, wings of his black cape stretched out behind him. He never returns. The body is found a couple days later drowned with a ...more
Maria Thermann
Ellis Peters' medieval amateur sleuth, Brother Cadfael of Shrewsbury Abbey, solves a very baffling case in this Christmas mystery. Set against the backdrop of civil war, the story begins when Abbot Radulfus of Shrewsbury is called to Westminster, where King Stephen is to be confirmed - once again - as the ruler of Britain. His kin, the Empress Maud, has other ideas, even though the good citizens of the City of London have thrown her out in disgust over her vindictiveness and cruelty.

Maud still
Emily Crow
This one just didn't hold my interest. There was a lot of repetition, with the characters discussing the same events several times, which got a bit annoying. As for the actual mystery, it turned out to be the most boring murder ever. (view spoiler)

I will grant this book one positive nod--Brother Cadfael's a sympathetic character. I know this is a popular series. Maybe the other books are better.
Father Adam, the much-loved vicar of the parish of the Holy Cross for seventeen years, has died and Father Ailnoth has arrived to take his place, along with a woman who has been his housekeeper, and her nephew, Benet, who begins to work as a helper for Brother Cadfael. It isn't long before Cadfael begins to suspect that Benet is not who he says he is, and later, Benet disappears. Ailnoth is austere and scholarly but it soon becomes apparent that he has displeased many of his parishioners in his ...more
Variazione sul tema. E per una volta, anche Cadfael non ci arriva se non in contemporanea con la confessione dell'assassino.
This quaint mystery lacked substance and really did not hold my interest.

Really such a favorite in this series.
Another great installment in a stellar series. As always its a pleasure to spend some time in medeival England during the Civil War between King Stephen and his Cousin Maude.

This time Shrewsbury's resident priest has died and Abbot Radolfus brings a new appointee direct from the retinue of Bishop Henry. When the man quickly alienates most of his perishoners and is then found dead on Christmas morning. Cadfeal and Berringer must discover if it was murder and if so who the perpetrator was.

This wa
Dorothy Iams
After finishing this book I believed it was written by an older lady even though cadfael is reputed to be a former tough guy who spent time as a Crusader. Ellis peters is definitely of the girlie persuasion. There is always a sappy love story in these books. This is going to be the last one I read. I enjoy cadfael as an herbalist. I never heard about Maud the empress of England before. The style and grammar makes the writing opaque.
I would have liked this story better if it wasn't for the usage of 'slut' and 'slattern' in it.

I realize that sexually free women today are shamed, let alone back in the 1980s when this was published, and certainly back in the 1100s. That said, if I recall correctly, those words haven't been used in any of the prior books, and there really wasn't a call for them in this one.

Yes, it's a nitpicky thing, but it bothers me.
Pamela Mclaren
A new priest does to the parish of Holy Cross to take over for the deceased and beloved Father Adam. But unlike Adam, Ailnoth is not welcoming or forgiving and soon, he has the village people up in arms and he is found, apparently killed out by the mill. Everyone who had ever dealt with the man apparently had a reason to see him dead but its up to Cadfael to pick up the slight clues and put them together.

A good mystery and a good story.
After a few months away from Brother Cadfael, I decided to pick up where I stopped in the series. As I began, I realized it was on the same date as in the story. No, not in 1142, I refer to month and date; December 10th.
I pictured Alan Rickman as Father Ailnoth; a "Snape-ish" priest? The set-up is nicely done with the recent natural death of one priest to introduce this newcomer. Throw in some intrigue, a young couple, and away we go.
I agree with a few reviewers comments regarding this story
This one didn't grab me as hard as others in the series. The overall message was as uplifting as ever - that being good is not the same as being godly - and there were a number of strong female characters, written sympathetically. The vile Ailnoth was more than evil enough but the plot lacked the usual snap and pace and had a strange feeling of déjà-vu about it.
Linda Ciano
This book was just okay. The mystery was fine, but I'm not a mystery fan in particular. I read medieval mystery books more for the rich descriptions of daily life in this particular time period (one I find absolutely fascinating). That's why this book fell flat for me; the life and times of medieval England aren't really fleshed out particularly well. I far prefer Margaret Frazer's medieval mysteries (the Dame Frevisse series and Joliffe series).
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another charming and well written Brother Cadfael mystery. Ellis Peters takes the opportunity to write some sermons here but they are, predictably, heartfelt and loving. It took me a bit outside my comfort zone but they called Brother Cadfael mysteries after all so it shouldn't take a detective to anticipate a little of that. In any case her characters continue to inhabit their world of a millennium ago. Often historical fiction figures seem to trumpet modern sensibilities while mired in their h ...more
John Gabriel
I've read the whole series and loved them. The ambience of Salisbury that was created was enchanting, although probably a long way from the reality. I have my own image of Cadfael that I prefer to the TV one, but then I would.
Aug 14, 2009 Mazel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Où court l'inquiétant prêtre qui, par une nuit de décembre, franchit la première enceinte, les manches gonflées de vent comme les ailes d'un corbeau ?

Le lendemain, on le retrouve mort, noyé dans l'étang.

Aussitôt le shérif et frère Cadfael mènent l'enquête, suspectant tour à tour les nombreux paroissiens qui avaient toutes les raisons de haïr, tous les motifs pour tuer l'impitoyable père Fouettard.

Si, pour finir, justice est faite, ce n'est pas celle qu'attendait le lecteur.

Mais quand Ellis P
I enjoyed this a lot, especially when Godith and Torold Blund were mentioned (from the second book) because I love it when the stories tie together! There are always such interesting women in the Cadfael books, and this was no exception, though it's always in the light of the mores and tight-fitting roles of the times. I found it fascinating that one woman who gave her favors freely was spoken of in sympathetic terms, and another as 'slut' and 'slattern' (though less judgmentally than those term ...more
Amanda Meggs
Excellent as usual. Cadfael meets Benet, who arrives with the new priest fof the Foregate and Cynric the verger of the Foregate. A new priest sent from the bishop after the old one dies.
Many love stories is hard to readind, but this is one of books in series with funny (unusual) end (which about what happend with young man after Hugh Beringar had done his work).
There's a certain point in reading a series like this where you begin to sort of see them all as the same book, and I think I've reached that point with Brother Cadfael. That said, I still really *like* that book; they're lovely and comforting.
L'ho riletto per scrupolo, perchè, per caso se ne parlava in questi giorni. Ma me lo ricordavo sciapo e sciapo l'ho ritrovato. I personaggi sono alquanto "piatti", mere figure piuttosto che persone. La storia lascia un po' a desiderare e il linguaggio a me non pare granchè. Frasi del tipo "... le labbra piene e rosse, dischiuse come due petali di rosa" oppure "... estasiato e intimorito ... perchè non poteva essere la stessa voce, udita una sola volta e brevemente, che tuttavia faceva vibrare tu ...more
Patricia Ferreira
Good book, very entertaining., mixing life in England in the 12th century and a murder mystery.
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A pseudonym used by Edith Pargeter.

Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM (September 28, 1913 in Horsehay, Shropshire, England –October 14, 1995) was a prolific author of works in many categories, especially history and historical fiction, and was also honoured for her translations of Czech classics; she is probably best known for her murder mysteries, both historical and modern. Born in the village of Hor
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Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1)
  • One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2)
  • Monk's Hood (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #3)
  • St. Peter's Fair (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #4)
  • The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #5)
  • The Virgin in the Ice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #6)
  • The Sanctuary Sparrow (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #7)
  • The Devil's Novice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #8)
  • Dead Man's Ransom (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #9)
  • The Pilgrim of Hate (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #10)
A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1) One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2) The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #5) Monk's Hood (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #3) St. Peter's Fair (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #4)

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“Bitter though it may be to many, Cadfael concluded, there is no substitute for truth, in this or any case.” 7 likes
“Nothing learned is ever quite wasted.” 1 likes
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