Bruder Cadfael und das Geheimnis der schönen Toten
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Bruder Cadfael und das Geheimnis der schönen Toten (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #17)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,808 ratings  ·  61 reviews
The year is 1143; once again Brother Cadfael is forced to leave the tranquility of his herb garden and use his knowledge of human nature to solve a murder—this one frighteningly close to home.

When a newly plowed field recently given to the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul yields the body of a young woman, Brother Cadfael is quickly thrown into a delicate sit...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Heyne (first published 1989)
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A few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I already had, I went to the library to see if there were more Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody adventures. Apparently, the library hasn't acquired them in order (the horror!), so I have to buy the next one if I'm planning on reading it. Then I saw something interesting next to the other Peters's novels: crime novels where a monk is doing the investig...more
I was able to get right onto this book, thanks to a spring cold. Ah brother Cadfael (though he will always look like Derek Jacobi, to me, thanks to the wonderful BBC series.) His character fascinates me....Cadfael is a Welshman who took up the sword in the First Crusade and fought his way to Jerusalem and back. He has seen and done it all before deciding, at age 40, to devote the rest of his life to God's work and joins an order of Benedictine monks. While atoning for his sins, he also becomes p...more
Mary Ellis
Mar 24, 2013 Mary Ellis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like historical mysteries
The Potter's Field by Edith Pargeter (pen name Ellis Peters) is the seventeenth installment in the Brother Cadfael series of mysteries.

Cadfael is a Benedictine monk who works a vegetable garden and herbarium in an abbey in medieval Shrewsbury, England. At some distance from the town, the Empress Maude and her cousin King Stephen wage intermittent war for the throne of England. This bloody history often influences the main story and helps to ground us in the times. As a lover of historical novel...more
In my continuing march through the Cadfael mysteries I re-read this and enjoyed it more than the first time around.

The story was mangled a bit for TV consumption and the original tale as written is more satisfying if a bit too complex to fit into the frame of an hour long TV program.

All three main players, Cadfael, Abbot Radolfus and Hugh Berringer are estimable men and its a pleasure to see how the three struggle with unknotting the tangled web that is unearthed in The Potter's field.

This is a...more
Ellis Peters lives up to her reputation as a mystery writer with this one. The focus shifts around to various suspects as Hugh and Cadfael deal with the flow of information that sheds progressive light on the case. The end is a bit of a surprise, which makes for a good mystery.

It is a joy to read her descriptions of people, the seasons, the countryside, and the customs. As Cadfael is off early one autumn morning, this line pops up: "But the birds were up and singing, busy and loud, lords of thei...more
I feel like the Brother Cadfael series slackened and stagnated toward its middle. The Potter's Field returns to the really, really good writing of the earlier books, and I hope that change sticks around for the remainder of the series. As usual, Peters uses some elements that have been seen in previous books, and the romance is as typical as ever, but the mystery is tight, compelling, puzzling. I especially enjoyed how Peters wrote from other characters' perspectives, allowing us to see through...more
Enjoyable. My favourite quotations from this book: "We live as candles in the breath of God." (p. 182) "...My soul has benefited from his prayers. But pain is here in the body, and has a very loud voice. Sometimes I could not hear my own voice say Amen! for the demon howling." (p. 238) " 'It may well be,' said Cadfael, 'that our justice sees as in a mirror image, left where right should be, evil reflected back as good, good as evil, your angel as her devil. But God's justice, if it makes no hast...more
One of the best and one that Mystery's video got close to right.

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 fictional. Though the foreground of each chronicle is a murder mystery, behind it a nation and a culture are woven in a wondrous tapestry.
This is another Grandma Price reccomendation. I relied on her wide reading to guide me to wholesome books.

These are fun mysteries, short, intriguing, easy to read that take you back centuries ago to medieval monestaries during the feudal system. A real slice of life at that time too.

There are many books in this Brother Cadafel series. All are good. Some characters you run into time and again.
My love for this series never dims -- even in re-reads, I find myself giddy in love with Brother Cadfael, Hugh Beringar, and their cohorts. While the plot of this particular outing feels a bit thin and too stretched to carry itself in a truly compelling way, I still appreciate and admire Peters' way with descriptions and historical detail. Always diverting and perfect winter weather reads.
The Potter's Field is the Seventeenth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, at Shrewsbury. In 1143 a body is discovered as the Brothers are plowing a field newly donated to the Abbey. The local potter who once owned the field abandoned his wife take vows. Now it seems that his wife, who was believed to have left with a lover, was actually murdered.
Jun 19, 2010 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susanna, Hayes
Just arrived from USA through BM. Another great masterpiece by Ellis Peters. I must continue to read this Brother Cadfael series.
Kate Forsyth
If you like historical mysteries set in medieval times, you'll enjoy these books - they're really very good.
I remembered seeing this episode of Cadfael, but I couldn't remember the my memory is refreshed. Derek Jacobi reading these is perfect for that. The saga of the Potter's Field begins with the Abbey, but not in the Abbey. While plowing a field given to the order, the bones of a woman are found. Nothing to reveal her identity or cause of death remains. And so the story begins. It unfolds with the relaxed pace of all the Cadfael stories, in its own time. The mystery is solved and luckily n...more
I have been ploughing through these this last few weeks. Ploughing being an intentioned pun. I have told sometimes of the sequencing of a body, of a suspect, of a result if it was too obvious. Well here we have the body in the very first chapter. It works wondorously well. Throughout the series we have the vocabulary that Cadfael uses lend further to the depth that these stories give the times. Perhaps not what really took place, but giving the entire series a character.

We see that well fleshed...more
Women tend to be nearly invisible in medieval stories. Peters wasn't so bad about this, but even she drops into it occasionally. Thus in the previous book (The Heretic's Apprentice) there's a mention in one paragraph of a maid who appears nowhere else in the book.

This irregular invisibility is probably the explanation of how a woman's body can show up unexpectedly in the too-close plowing of a field, and nobody can say who she might be. Or rather, they can say who she MIGHT be, but can't be sure...more
Tiffany Wacaser
It's been over a year since I've read a Brother Cadfael mystery. I had forgotten why I enjoy Ellis Peters so much. I love how she recreates the medieval world so well. I love her descriptions of Abbey life. Her characters are excellent. I love how Brother Cadfael is such a part of abbey life, but his perceptions and experiences reflect the broad and varied life he led before taking his vows.

Anyhow, reading this book was different for me for a couple of reasons. First, I made a decision NOT to sk...more
This is the first Brother Cadfael mystery that I had not read before, and I thought it a very good one; Brother Cadfael is able (with a good deal of help, to be sure) to determine who did what to whom to create the inevitable dead body, who appears mysteriously, and who has been buried so long as to obscure cause of death and identity. (One would not think there were many unknown dead bodies around Shrewsbury, but apparently such could happen.) For those not wishing to read further, I loved this...more
I love the entire Cadfael series. By reading them in rapid succession I'm able to see the breadth of it and compare each single book against the whole. The first 13 books (A Morbid Taste for Bones through The Rose Rent) are superb. (As I said in my review, I do not enjoy reading book 12 The Raven in the Foregate due to the antagonist, but the book itself is still quite good.)

Books 14 Hermit of Eyton Forest and 15 The Confession of Brother Haluin feel like a stumble, like they were written on au...more
Black Elephants
In the anatomy of a mystery, you can pretty much assume that the eventual culprit or mastermind, especially in a murder case, is introduced early on in the plot. Writers slip them in with trumpets and cymbals or as unobtrusively as a shadow slanted away from a wall. Plot then happens, twisting and turning the culprit in such a way so that the reader is never truly clear about their agency until the "a-ha" moment. And if writers succeed in this manipulation of the reader's perception, then genera...more
The Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul acquires a plot of land near the Abbey from a priory four miles away. The land is known as the Potter’s Field, because, Ruald, the man who had lived on it for years was a potter. Ruald had recently joined the Abbey to become a monk; Ruald’s wife had supposedly gone away with another man. When the field is plowed, the body of a woman in a shallow grave is found; people assume that Ruald has murdered his wife. The plot thickens when someone else claims proof th...more
The Abbey has just taken possession of a plot of land in a transaction that is a swap due to proximity. A couple of the brothers evaluate the land and determine that a portion of it would best be plowed and planted. In doing so, a woman's body is unearthed. The great mystery is: who is she and what happened? Shortly after this, Sulien Blount returns home from a distant Abbey where he was a novice. It was Sulien's family who had originally owned the land where the body was found and it seems as...more
I read this out of order, apparently, from the last book of this series that I read, so now things make a lot more sense, although the author does a good job of summarizing. This is one mystery I didn't even close to solve. Sad I'm almost done with the series.
I so wish that back in the day they'd had derek jacobi narrate the full stories and not just do these abridgements. He's a delight as a reader.

This is a darker story in a different way from some others in this series which are tied to death due to war. While their is resolution in the fact the mystery is solved, the ending leaves it open to the reader as far as how resolved he or she feels.

It highlights the tragic way in which unintended consequences of one person's decision can cause harm and...more
In this Cadefael mystery, a woman's body is turned up by the plough in a field recently acquired by the abbey. The woman is unidentifiable, but the discovery casts suspicion on a brother who recently joined the Order. It was previously thought that his wife had left town with her lover, but now the members of the abbey are forced to consider whether foul play may have been involved in her disappearance.

I had a good part of the mystery figured out pretty early on, but there were a lot of elements...more
I think that The Potter’s Field is one of the best Cadfael mysteries. As always Ellis Peters makes good use of a turbulent period in English history as the background for a medieval mystery. The detailed descriptions of characters, circumstances and places are a pleasure to read and bring the reader easily into 12th century Shrewsbury and surroundings.
What makes this one stand out to some of the rest of Cadfaels adventures is the mystery itself, which is intriguing and well composed.
Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series - set around 1000/1100, a Welsh man who had been with the Crusades, soldier/sailor, loved women etc settles down to retirement as a Benedictine monk, working as an apothecary within the abbey and the community, and assisting the sheriff with mysteries. He's a really wholesome character who understands people and life, not at all narrow and irritating. There is also a series of movies made based on these books with Derek Jacobi playing Brother Cadfael
Debra Garcia
I love all the Cadfael books.
Frank Peters
The Potter’s Field is the 17th of the Cadfael mysteries. While the mystery was well crafted and the solution was reasonable, the situations in the book were more depressing and darker than typical. Certainly, one could argue that this makes the book more realistic, however I found that it took away from the book. So, this just was not as enjoyable as most of the previous Cadfael novels.
Ellis Peters has written 33 Father Cadfael mysteries that take place in the 1100s in England. I have enjoyed the few books I have read, and I did enjoy this one. A body is discovered when a new field is plowed. Who is she and where is she from? Pretty routine plot for Cadfael as he collects the clues and comes up with a suspect. I’ll read another of Ms. Peters’ books in a year or so.
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500 Great Books B...: The Potter's Field - Ellis Peters 1 1 Jul 14, 2014 10:03PM  
  • The Monk Who Vanished (Sister Fidelma, #7)
  • The Lady Chapel (Owen Archer, #2)
  • The Bishop's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #4)
  • The Crown in Darkness (Hugh Corbett, #2)
  • The Wandering Arm (Catherine LeVendeur, #3)
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
More about Ellis Peters...
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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“Every man has within him only one life and one nature ... It behooves a man to look within himself and turn to the best dedication possible those endowments he has from his Maker. You do no wrong in questioning what once you held to be right for you, if now it has come to seem wrong. Put away all thought of being bound. We do not want you bound. No one who is not free can give freely.” 7 likes
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