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One Corpse Too Many

(Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #2)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  12,714 ratings  ·  697 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 bur ...more
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Published January 28th 1999 by Acorn Media Publishing (first published 1979)
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Emily Not at all.
I first read most of them out of order and then gone back to read them in order. It might add a little something, but it's easy to follow …more
Not at all.
I first read most of them out of order and then gone back to read them in order. It might add a little something, but it's easy to follow the stories when they're read as stand-alones. (less)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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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
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Brother Cadfael mystery, which is set during the summer of 1138, and takes place in Shrewsbury, so sees Cadfael at home - tending his herbs and potions in the Abbey gardens. This is a time of turmoil, with war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud. Choosing sides causes discord and violence and Shrewsbury Castle is besieged. The upheaval brings a young helper, Godric, to the Abbey, who Cadfael willingly takes as a helper, before realising the young man is really a young gi ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Book 2 of the Brother Cadfael series, which is one I’ve been reading in no particular order. The series is set in 12th Century England where a civil war is raging between cousins King Stephen and Empress Maud, both claimants to the throne. People support one or the other as per their beliefs (and opportunity too), but when the other party is in the ascendant, their very lives are in danger. In this one, King Stephen has made some advances and reached Shrewsbury, where the Castle supports Empress ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellis Peters’ “A Morbid Taste For Bones” travelled but the home-sticking “One Corpse Too Many” was action-packed. Whether the constant movement kept Edith Pargeter’s soft adverbs in check, or she improved; I was relieved. I enjoyed her second novel so much better than I thought and won’t mind reading her third. Medieval historical fiction and the crime type of mysteries are my least favourites, so this was not going to be a five-star novel for me. However Edith penned these settings exceptionall ...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

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.

Feb 13, 2013 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
Alex Cantone
…for every untimely death, every man cut down in his vigour and strength, without time for repentance and reparation, is one corpse too many.

One Corpse Too Many is the second of the chronicles of “Cadfael”, a Welsh Benedictine monk in 12th century England at Shrewsbury Abbey, near the Welsh border. Author Edith Pargeter who wrote under the pseudonym of Ellis Peters, passed away in 1995. I vaguely remember a TV series of the same name when I was young but never watched, now I am enjoying the nove
aPriL does feral sometimes
In 'One Corpse Too Many' by Ellis Peters the year is 1138 and it's war! King Stephen and Empress Maud fight each other for the right to rule England. Back and forth, the lords, their Knights and men-at-arms fight for their chosen liege. Unfortunately for the town of Shrewsbury the castle is in the hands of supporters of Maud while Stephen's men are surrounding the town and preparing to attack. The people wisely lock their doors and windows and stay out of it. The Benedictines behind their abbey ...more
Jason Koivu
A very strong follow up! This one steps up the historical battle between King Stephen and Empress Maud, so it's more about lords and knights, rather than cloistered monks.

I enjoyed reading the origins of some of the series' mainstay characters, such as Hugh Beringar and his wife to be. Cadfael's wit and wisdom is always a pleasure.

Book two in the Cadfael series is not quite as clever as the first. The murderer was easy to pick out. However, this book is more about drama, stealth, vengeance and
The trouble with me, he thought unhappily, is that I have been about the world long enough to know that God's plans for us, however infallibly good, may not take the form we expect and demand.

Brother Cadfael, that former military man in a monk’s robe, knows his onions….and his murder victims and fugitives! When a murderer dumps his victim amongst the bodies of those hung for treason, Cadfael is not willing to let the perpetrator get away scot-free. Dragged away from his garden and his herbal pot
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.
Stacie  Haden
3.5 stars. I'm still not 100% sold on this series. I'll have to read another. :)
Dec 23, 2015 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.
What is there not for me to love about Ellis Peters Brother Cadfael series and in particular about the second novel of the series, about One Corpse too Many? It (and this is actually also the general case for the entire series) presents a wonderfully realistic sense of historic time and place (showing and telling readers both about Mediaeval England in general and specifically about the 12th century AD English Civil War between King Stephen and the Empress Maud delightfully, enlighteningly but a ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good old fashioned murder mystery. A marked improvement on Cadfael #1 in my opinion, but the ingredients were the same - good plot, several suspects and of course a love brewing in the background.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, adult, mystery
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
[F]or every untimely death, every man cut down in his vigour and strength without time for repentance and reparation, is one corpse too many. (Kindle 3278)

It is 1138, and King Stephen and Empress Maud are fighting for the throne of England. Maud was the last king's only living child (but female); Stephen was her cousin and grandchild – as was Maud – of King William. Who has the right to the kingdom – the closest male or the closest relative? Warfare, of course, will determine this.

In Shrewsbury
Abigail Bok
In this, the second Brother Cadfael mystery, the civil war between self-appointed king Stephen and the legitimate successor to the throne, Mathilda, is at the center of the action. Stephen is laying siege to the castle at Shrewsbury, the border town where Cadfael's monastery is located, trying to smoke out some allies of Mathilda's. Violence lands at the monastery's doorstep, and the monks must engage with worldly matters and politics, whether they will or no.

This backdrop leads to a more secula
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
Susan in NC
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
Still a four star read for me, even after all these years! I loved Cadfael when I first read this series back in the 1980s, and saw Derek Jacobi bring the Benedictine to life for the BBC(?), and he’s still wonderful!

In this second entry in the series, the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud has come to Shrewsbury. After the castle is besieged and overrun by Stephen’s troops, the traitors are hastily and viciously dispatched by hanging. Kind-hearted Abbott Heribert feels compelled to
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.
Excellent story, great narration. It doesn't get much better than this. Cadfael meets Beringar; Beringar meets Aline; Shrewsbury survives siege and would-be King Stephen.

I always think this is the better first-read of the Cadfael books, more so than *A Morbid Taste for Bones*.
Sep 04, 2008 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)

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
Aug 03, 2011 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
From BBC radio 4 Extra:
With England at civil war in 1138, the medieval monk has a murder on his hands. Ellis Peters' mystery stars Glyn Houston.
A bit disappointed about the end, but otherwise a nice story.
Cecily Felber
Nov 11, 2010 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
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.

Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A girl, disguised as a boy, turns up at the monastery, seeking refuge. The king had a number of persons executed. One additional body is found. Cadfael gains the king's permission to seek the murderer. Meanwhile the king and his men are seeking the girl. This was a re-read for me, and I remembered enough of the story to make me realize I'd read it before, but the intervening time made details seemingly new at times.
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A pseudonym used by Edith Pargeter.

Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM 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 Horsehay (Shropshire, England), she had Welsh ancestry, and many of her sho

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)
  • Saint 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 (The Cadfael Chronicles, #11)

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