Cecily Felber's Reviews > A Morbid Taste for Bones

A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
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Nov 11, 10

Recommended for: Everyone
Read in August, 2003 — I own a copy, read count: 4

Everyone should read this book!

Brother Cadfael (pronounced Cad-file) has definitely entered the ranks of great fiction detectives that include Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey. But these stories are more than just murder mysteries in medieval drag. Ellis Peters has the incredible gift of transporting her reader into 12th century England. You really do feel as though you are in that long-lost world lit only by fire, where it's quiet and green and life moves at a pace most people can be happy in.

Cadfael is a suitably complex man. He's from Wales, but now living in England (though Wales is not very far away). He was once a soldier, but now he's a monk. He's lived a full life, now he wants to be quiet. But he also has a strong sense of right and justice and refuses to compromise on these things, even when it means getting himself in trouble. He's also picked up a lot of knowledge, especially of herbology and medicine and (somehow for the time) logical analysis that stands him in good stead as a solver of mysteries.

Ellis Peters actually lived in Shrewsbury, England, where Cadfael's monastery of St. Peter and Paul can still be visited. Her knowledge of the land and people and history permeates her work, and indeed, this first offering was inspired by an entry in a monastic chronicle of the time, kept at the Welsh house of Ystrad Fflur, which says for 1138, "...and the monks from Shrewsbury stole Gwenfrewri's bones."

A line like that begs for a story to be told...and here it is.

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