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One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #2)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,696 Ratings  ·  351 Reviews
In the summer of 1138, war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud takes Brother Cadfael from the quiet world of his garden into a battlefield of passions, deceptions, and death.

Not far from the safety of the abbey walls, Shrewsbury Castle falls, leaving its ninety-four defenders, loyal to the Empress, to hang as traitors. With a heavy heart, Brother Cadfael agrees to bu
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1984 by Futura Publications (first published 1979)
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This was wonderful. I was thinking all through it that I would be giving it four stars because I really have to save the very best books for five star class winners, but then came the end which I adored. So yep, another five star book. This is as good as The Leper of Saint Giles, and that I gave five stars. With that one I was shocked that I could love a book of a mystery series. It astounded me. Now I am beginning to expect Ellis Peters to perform as one of the best of the best, and she pulled ...more
 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔

A real disappointment, especially since I enjoyed the first Brother Cadfael A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1) by Ellis Peters book so much. & such an intriguing premise! A corpse mixed in with the victims of a massacre -awesome idea!

This was a muddled mess and I'm not interested enough to go back to try to figure out where I became
confused. Having (view spoiler) didn't help. This is exactly how I felt reading other books in this series many years ago.

Reading more of this series on hold for now.

Jun 23, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Chrissie & Gundula
It's so refreshing to read a mystery series with no gore or bad language that is mixed with a cast of characters I'd like to know in real life. They're wise, honorable people. The central character is a monk, but don't let that put you off. He becomes a real person with flaws, not some pie-in-the-sky paragon of perfection. This book gives a black-and-white movie feeling, for which I'm very grateful. It's a good, comfort read. If you're afraid the historical aspect and time period will go right o ...more
One Corpse Too Many is the second Brother Cadful book I’ve read. The Brother Cadful series has a lot going for it: a unique “investigator”, the medieval time setting, a close attention to period detail. The minuses include: cardboard characters, stale dialogue, and a somewhat stilted writing style. That said, I’d recommend the book for mystery/historical fiction lovers, who want something different.
Apr 25, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First story in the Main Sequence of Cadfael stories. Suggest you read "A Morbid Taste for Bones" or "A Rare Benedictine" first, but you'll not be disappointed if you start here.

History, in the personage of King Stephen of England comes crashing into twelfth century Shrewsbury and Brother Cadfael's life will never be the same. But wait, there's one too many bodies. How do we know and what does it mean? And is Hugh Beringer a friend or foe? Got to read it to find out. Enjoy.

(Third Reading: 2016)

First Sentence: Brother Cadfael was working in the small kitchen garden by the abbot’s fishponds when the boy was first brought to him.

There is civil war in England as King Stephen and Empress Maud fight for the throne. A young man, who is not, has been brought to the abbey and placed in Cadfael’s care. Shrewsbury Castle falls to the forces of Stephen leaving 94 men to the hangman. Brother Cadfael, having been a soldier in the first crusade and seeing much worse, offers to care for and bury the
Dec 25, 2015 Petra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1138 England. King Stephen is in conflict with Empress Maude for the throne. During the siege of Shrewsbury, executions are ordered and Father Cadfael finds one body too many in with the dead....murder!
I like the medieval setting and the descriptions of the customs, lifestyles and places. Father Cadfael is a wonderful character. Solving mysteries using only clues and logic without the help of fingerprints or forensics is interesting.
I enjoy this series so far and plan on continuing in future.
Cecily Felber
Nov 11, 2010 Cecily Felber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This second Brother Cadfael story is set against the backdrop of the siege of Shrewsbury Castle in 1138 during a nineteen-year conflict between two royal cousins, Stephen and Maud, for the throne of England. Cadfael tries to do the right thing amid the conflicting loyalties of the time--and find out who used the executions ordered by the King as cover for their crime. This story also introduces the enduring character of Hugh Beringar, who will enable Cadfael's participation in many future invest ...more
Megan Larson
Oct 04, 2009 Megan Larson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like to read. :)
Recommended to Megan by: Karen Hull
Reading this book was my rebellious way of escaping from my middle ages "reading list" without wholly leaving the middle ages, and I am heartily glad for it. It really was excellent--the only complaint I had was that it was a little hard to get into, because it was so historically dense and unassuming in tone--it didn't exactly start with a "bang"--and the font was miniscule! Perhaps I was expecting this book to be as undemanding to read as many mystery novels are--even by great authors like Aga ...more
May 06, 2013 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second book in the series, and yet another one that I remembered fairly well from the TV episode based on it. Actually, aside from giving us the marvelous Sean Pertwee as Hugh Beringar (and who will always be my personal image of Hugh, for all that the show replaced him at least twice with actors that weren't nearly as successful at capturing the sharp-witted sheriff), I wasn't terribly thrilled with this episode. It seemed to throw us too much into the middle of things, without enough time actu ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Luann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, adult, 2011
If I didn't know after reading the first Brother Cadfael, A Morbid Taste for Bones, that I wanted to read ALL of the Brother Cadfael books, I definitely know it now after reading book two! Brother Cadfael is such a smart, interesting, capable, and overall cool character! He is exactly what I look for in a mystery protagonist. And, as in book one, I loved the cast of characters surrounding Brother Cadfael as well.

Ellis Peters does a wonderful job of building the medieval world her characters liv
Aug 03, 2011 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Cadfael series has two strong positives and one serious negative. I find the setting (a monastary in medieval England) very intriguing. I also enjoy Peters's plot lines, which are intricately developed. On the other hand, her character development is hasty and too-easy. She would rather just posit character elements (writing something along the line of "and just then the two recognized they were in love", or "Cadfael summed him up as too good a person to be involved in the crime") in an effo ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
I've read this before but have no memory of the plot, so I thought I'd read it again.

Later: This is, in a way, a medieval "spy vs. spy" story, and to my mind the best in the Brother Cadfael series.

I think I'd start a reader new to the Cadfael series here, actually.
Bill Rogers
Dec 30, 2014 Bill Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The civil war between the supporters of England's two rival monarchs, King Stephen and Empress Maud, has worked its meandering way to Shrewsbury to trouble the townspeople and the Benedictine Brothers of the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Besieged by King Stephen, the defenders of Shresbury Castle know they're doomed. There are fugitives from so-called justice, divided loyalties aplenty as the people from nobles on down choose their sides, there's a treasure to be saved or stolen, and in t ...more
Most books in this series start with a year and season. This one starts in late summer of 1138. Frankly, I've learned more about the Civil War between King Stephen and the Empress Maud from these books than from almost any other source. But there are bits that aren't explained. For example, it's never explained how Henry II's sons were drowned. It would be helpful if notes or glossaries were provided, along with the maps.

I should say that many of the names are taken from the Domesday Book, or so
Feb 23, 2010 Sarai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
Shrewsbury Castle falls under siege during the battle between King Stephen and Empress Maud, and when Cadfael comes to help take care of the bodies he discovers one corpse too many among the dead and sets about to find the murderer. Along the way, he crosses paths with the mysterious Hugh Beringer, a man his equal in wit - but is Hugh the villain he seeks?

This is the second in the Cadfael series, which I came across after catching part of an episode on PBS, starring Sir Derek Jacobi. I was intri
Feb 20, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this Brother Cadfael story, more so than the previous entry. I think the author really gave a wonderful sense of place and time and her characters felt real to me.

The mystery was an interesting one and the way Cadfael goes about solving it made me appreciate all the small details the author incorporated in the descriptions and procedures he used.

I look forward to reading the next one in the series.
I love that -- so far at least -- these books aren't just historical fiction with a touch of mystery, or mystery with a touch of historical fiction, but solidly grounded in both. The political situation is inextricably linked with the mystery, too, even though the mystery is not vitally important to the political situation. It's lovely.

The characters are fun, too. Cadfael, of course, is clever and good, but I rather liked the background characters, particularly Hugh and Aline. The ending made me
Wonderful series: and full of lots of interesting tidbits of information for anyone (like me) entranced by medieviality (I know that's not a word-well, it is now,I guess). I read the series with a close friend and we had a great time with it. Reading alone/together is a great way for busy adults to spend time together! I'll admit she enjoyed the prose more than I did; I had a little trouble with flow (or lack thereof) but I adored Brother Cadfael, the monks, the garden, and the murders.

This is the 'real' start of Cadfael's journey. The reader meets Hugh and Aline and what an entrance they make. Peters also sets up a trend of Young couples and Cadfael's hand in spreading happiness when he can.

I enjoyed this novel the first time I read it long ago for the plot and the atmosphere. I enjoyed it this time around for the characters. How they started and how as a reader I saw them grow until the series end.

A really good mystery and a cast of characters worth knowing.
Joanne Dobson
May 12, 2015 Joanne Dobson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm just now rereading the Brother Cadfael mysteries, and enjoying them even more than I did the first time around. This one is so well grounded in history, both of the great and the lowly, and so craftily plotted, that , as soon as I finished, i turned immediately to the next book in the series. It's been a long time, I think, since I've read such a well-made mystery novel.
Oct 15, 2015 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that started me reading Brother Cadfael mysteries. That makes it the lead-in to many many hours of reading pleasure.
Dire times for Shrewsbury
In this book the second of Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael series we find Shrewsbury in 1138 in deep trouble. The forces of King Stephen are approaching and citizens are scrambling to align themselves with the victor. Unfortunately those in the castle were aligned with the Empress Maude and paid dearly for it.

This book introduces us to the crafty Hugh Beringar a worthy friend or foe to Cadfael. Part of Cadfael's dilemma in this chronicle is to determine which Beringar is.
Brenda Mengeling
Classic super sleuth mystery set in 12th century England while Stephen and Matilda vie for the throne. Brother Cadfael is the super sleuth, a Benedictene monk and herbalist, who has seen the world fighting in a Crusade. Now he needs to find out who murdered a young man and stashed his body with a bunch of soldiers hanged for treason. Author Ellis Peters often uses her omniscient third person narrator to point out when Cadfael has reasoned out another part of the puzzle,while leaving the reader t ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Gale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is one story which I had seen on PBS, which inspired me to read the original. What a treasure lay waiting in my bookcase!
I found that all Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books are "Excellent Mysteries", even if I occasionally question her private brand of clerical or secular justice. But the literary gems of extreme value are those five novels which enhance our understanding of the protagonist's character. An additional bonus to the delectable mysterie
Mike (the Paladin)
I got this out of the library and when I started it...I realized I'd read it some time ago (I suppose that doesn't speak too well for it as I had to start it to remember, but then I'm not a mystery fan).

The Brother Cadfael books/mysteries are all reliably good reads (though at times a bit depressing). Ms. Peters (Edith Mary Pargeter) is not afraid to include a downer element to a story but she weaves a tale that will draw you in. The stories can move just a bit slowly at times but they tend to h
After finishing One Corpse Too Many I'm impressed by how well they captured the book in the television adaptation starring Derek Jacobi. If you've seen and enjoyed the adaptation, you'll enjoy the original book by Peters.

I didn't realize this was the second in the series until I added this title to my Goodreads page. Readers can join this series here at One Corpse Too Many and not suffer for neglecting the first book.

I liked the mixture of history and action. Peters evokes the time and place wi
Jul 03, 2014 William rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Attempted this in my preemptive quest to find Christie's equal before I run out of her novels. Welp, a true whodunnit this is not. The actual "casework" amounts to maybe 40% of the book. The rest is devoted to subplots, none of which are terribly interesting and might well have benefited from editing down- we don't need to know exactly what happened from everyone's perspective when much could, instead, be intuited rather easily.

Had the perp nailed early on, anyway- even in the absence of real cl
Mar 27, 2016 Vivienne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Following the surrender of Shrewsbury some of the town's leaders manage to escape to join the forces of Queen Maud while Kins Stephen executes a number of the town's defenders. Yet as the monks of the Abbey lay out the bodies for collection and burial it is Brother Cadfael who notices that there was one body too many. A murder victim. With Stephen's blessing he investigates while harbouring a secret of his own.

There was plenty to enjoy in this novel that drew on historical events. The series was
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Goodreads Librari...: Page number correction: ISBN 9780751543728 2 17 Mar 24, 2014 04:31PM  
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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
More about Ellis Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1)
  • 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)
  • An Excellent Mystery (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #11)

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