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A Play of Piety (Joliffe the Player, #6)
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A Play of Piety (Joliffe the Player #6)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In harvest time of 1436, Joliffe's troupe leader falls, leaving his players to find what work they can while he recovers. Joliffe finds work in a hospital where he unfortunately has to deal with Mistress Cisily Thorncoffyn, a widow expecting to be endlessly waited on for her mostly imaginary ailments.

When patients begin mysteriously dying, Mistress Thorncoffyn loudly ins
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Berkley
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 363)
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May
It's impossible to review this book without the context of the previous five in the series (A Play of Isaac, A Play of Dux Moraud, A Play of Knaves, A Play of Lords, and A Play of Treachery), not to mention the context of the Dame Frevisse mysteries, in which Joliffe first appeared. And there's the fact that this is the last Joliffe mystery, as Margaret Frazer died last year.
I've enjoyed both the Dame Frevisse and the Joliffe mysteries very much throughout the years. The writing is spare, almost
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Kilian Metcalf
Joliffe is back where he belongs: with the troupe he started with. Bassett is laid up in hospital with a severe attack of arthritis that leaves him unable to walk. For the time of his healing, the players are drafted into helping with the harvest, except for Joliffe and Rose. They help the nursing sisters at the hospital that houses Bassett and seven other men in of healing.

Joliffe himself is in need of healing. Plagued by nightmares, the new knowledge and experiences of his time in France have
...more
Martha Meyer
Joliffe the Player lands (through a flare up of Bassett's arthritis) in a medieval hospital -- and it is a remarkable place. Margaret Frazer presents a study of medieval medicine; much of what we think we know is misconception. Joliffe acts in a play with his company (minus Basset) which is made all the sweeter since it has been a long time for him (and his readers) since he last did that. He also solves a mysterious death carefully and well. However, the hospital's characters stay with you a lo ...more
Alan
I am much more familiar with Frazer's Dame Frevisse Medievel Mysteries, which are favorites of mine, than this series of hers, Joliffe the Players Mysteries, and I didn't start at the beginning of the series, I just grabbed this book off the shelf at the library. It really didn't take me much to get into the story or understand enough of the concept so I didn't feel that I missed the groundwork laid out in the previous books. In this one Joliffe has been absent from the traveling troupe of playe ...more
Kathy Davie
Sixth in the Joliffe the Player medieval mystery series revolving around a group of theatrical players in 15th century England.


My Take
I am so pleased to be wrong! In the last Joliffe story, A Play of Treachery, I was positive that Joliffe would still be actively working for the bishop. I was wrong. Joliffe is back with the players!

This story is primarily with Basset, Joliffe, and Rose with the others playing brief roles.

Interesting historical background on how much the movement of non-nobles is
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Scot
Sixth in the series. These books by Frazer are entertaining in the skillful way they flush out fascinating cultural and social practices of people in 15th century England based on thorough reserach, using the experiences and interactions of Joliffe and his acting troupe to advance the plot lines, and on a larger level from book to book, the range of possible settings and situations for the series. This one takes place in the hospital of St. Giles in 1436. Basset, the leader of the troupe, is abe ...more
Brenda Mengeling
An enjoyable, if not typical, entry in this series. Joliffe has returned from France to rejoin the troupe of traveling players he belongs to. However, rather than traveling around the countryside performing and solving mysteries for his patron, Lord Lovell, the players are staying in a small town during the harvest while their leader, Basset, recovers from a severe bout of arthritis. Joliffe works at the hospital with the sisters while Basset is there, and turns his wits to solving a mysterious ...more
Alison Dellit
This one felt very much as if the stories to tell about players were wearing a little thin. As always, the detail is excellent and the stories entertaining, but I wish more of this had gone in the political intrigue direction.
Catherine  Mustread
I loved this 6th and final (?) volume in the Joliffe the Playerseries. Joliffe rejoins his troupe of players after asojournas a spy in France. In Piety, it is harvest time in 1436, and Joliffe discovers that Basset. thetroupe'sleader is laid up in a hospital, where, of course, there turns out to be mysteries to be solved.

The mulling over of the clues tends to be a bit repetitive, but does help if one forgets the connections between characters. Reminded me of Alexander McCall Smith in that respe
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Jacqueline
Started book beginning of Feb. Book was good, but I should have looked for previous books in series so I knew more about characters. Joliffe rejoins troop after being away in training/acting as a spy, and finds troop leader in a charity hospital with arthritis so bad he can't work. He gets a job there while the others work in the fields during the harvest. Staying at the hospital is a very wealthy woman who is also very unpleasant and demanding. Her grandson and the guy who is sort of the proper ...more
Priscilla
Not so much a historical mystery as a historical novel that somewhere past the halfway point involves a murder, followed by tens of pages of the main character asking himself questions about it, followed shortly by someone else solving the murder "off camera". I enjoyed the book because it was well written and the details of the historical lives were interesting, but a murder mystery it certainly is not, not in the usual sense or in the sense that I was looking for when I began it. I might buy o ...more
Carole Moran
I found this book less captivating than others in this series. I have loved the midieval series of a troupe of wandering players, one of whom is clever at solving mysteries. The lead character, Joliffe, is not touring or playing or solving much in this book, however. The troupe is tied to one village while it's owner is in a hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, in this book Joliffe does a lot of fetching and carrying and washing of dishes for the hospital staff, and the plot drags on intermina ...more
Susan
A Play of Piety is a fascinating character study...Joliffe’s insight into human nature is matched by the perceptiveness of many the same people he is studying. It’s always the interactions among the characters I love so much. ...the richness in these books is watching the development of this mystery man turned player turned detective turned spy as he tries to hold onto the part of his life that he holds most dear– but that unfortunately was not quite enough.

See my full review at ReadingWorld.
Bill Bradford
Frazer's books are always fun to read just because you pick up a great deal of information about 15th century England. This book is no exception, and has some really interesting information about medieval hospitals. There is further development of Joliffe's character as he rejoins the troupe of players. Technically and stylistically very good, Frazer's books always leave you thinking. There is an interesting contrast in the way three of the principals deal with the concept of "don't get mad, get ...more
Robin Anderson
I really have enjoyed these two intertwined series - Dame Frevisse and Joliffe - of medieval mysteries. I am less a fan of mystery than of the historical reconstruction based on careful research, and these books satisfy me well. When the Joliffe series started, I was a bit impatient, wanting to read more about Dame Frevisse, however, as I read more of them, I switched my opinion. Would love to have more Joliffe books. Very nice series. Well done!
Cindy
Joliffe arrives back in England to find out that one of his fellow players in in the hospital. Basset's arthritis has got him crippled, but he's nearly recovered. Joliffe and the rest of the actors stay and find work until they can travel again. When someone is murdered, Joliffe uses his skills to spot the killer and keep his friends out of trouble.

My favorite in the series so far. I liked reading about medieval medicine and how the hospital was run.
Haven
The book was believable, well-researched and blah. Perhaps it's because I picked the book up mid-series but I put it down without much regret. The only interesting thing in it was the description of medical treatment in Medieval times. Overall a disappointing read - three stars just because it was believable and well-researched, something that is not found enough in historical novels.
Lisa
The best so far of the Joliffe the Player series, as he rejoins his troupe of players at a hospital where one of them is being treated for "arthritics" and as Joliffe returns to his preferred life with the memories and consequences of his eight months of spying for Bishop Beaufort. Great characters and a interesting look at a medieval hospital, with a good plot.
Edie
Most excellent reading. Very different from the one previous, and just as good about being reflective about a person's place in the world, and a person's place with their own self. Plus, a good mystery and a good view to the 15oos in england.
Nancy
Joliffe returns to England and joins his troupe at a medieval hospital, where a death and poisonings point to trouble behind the scenes. Joliffe investigates along with the Crowner. This is a well-researched and entertaining series.
Kathryn
I love this series. The characterizations are rich, the internal and external conversations are beautifully written, the bad guys are bad and the good ones are good but all are human and timeless, and the mysteries are interesting.
Charlotte
I found this a little slower going and less compelling than the other Joliffe books, but still good enough to rate a 4, in part because of the window on an aspect of medieval society (hospitals & medical care).
Kathy Sebesta
Joliffe is one of my favorite period characters, and the author does a good job with him. Unfortunately, there was a bit too much deus ex machina in the ending, slightly spoiling the reading.
Debra S
I enjoyed the historical accuracy and the modest murder mystery. Not terribly exciting but I think I would read other works by this author to see how the series progresses.
Anne
Interesting to find Joliffe and company in a hospital setting and to learn how well-run such a place could have been in the 15th century. A truly nasty lady in this one.
Julie
It was a brisk, easy read and I like the character of Joliffe, but this one felt a bit more scant and detached than previous ones and I missed the players as players.
Kathleen
A rather calm addition to this historical series. I learned a bit about medieval medical practices, but I missed the usual interplay between the players.
Abcdarian
Wonderful setting & characters as usual, though the mystery itself seemed a tad feeble -- more an excuse to explore a new setting, which was very interesting.
Deb
Not the best of the Joliffe novels, but the setting, a medieval hospital, was interesting and allowed the author to show off her research.
Allison
The writing style leaves a bit to be desired; she falls into a lot of repetitive phrasings, but the story is good.
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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

Joliffe the Player (7 books)
  • A Play of Isaac (Joliffe the Player, #1)
  • A Play of Dux Moraud (Joliffe the Player, #2)
  • A Play of Knaves (Joliffe the Player, #3)
  • A Play of Lords (Joliffe the Player, #4)
  • A Play of Treachery (Joliffe the Player, #5)
  • A Play of Heresy (Joliffe the Player, #7)
The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1) The Servant's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #2) The Bishop's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #4) A Play of Isaac (Joliffe the Player, #1) The Sempster's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #15)

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