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A Morbid Taste for Bones

(Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  28,567 ratings  ·  1,310 reviews
Ellis Peters' introduction to the murderous medieval world of Brother Cadfael...
A Morbid Taste for Bones

In the remote Welsh mountain village of Gwytherin lies the grave of Saint Winifred. Now, in 1137, the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the sacred remains for his Benedictine order. Native Welshman Brother Cadfael is sent on the expedition to tran
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Mass Market Paperback, 197 pages
Published 1994 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1977)
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Edith He participated in the Crusades, and he was captain of a ship. He is the herbalist at the Shrewsbury Monastery.
Wes Stilley Cadfael's secular past rules the day in this book. He uses his past real worldly experiences and his accumulated knowledge from that life to…moreCadfael's secular past rules the day in this book. He uses his past real worldly experiences and his accumulated knowledge from that life to manipulate the circumstances and evidence leading the spiritual based brothers to the desired conclusions . The ecclesiastic brothers believe in Godly intervention rather than believe a man could manipulate events and evidence to achieve his desired result. The 1100 man has not seen Joe Friday's "The facts ma'am, just the facts," (less)

Community Reviews

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3.98  · 
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 ·  28,567 ratings  ·  1,310 reviews


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Lisa
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great historical mystery series.

Since this info was hard for me to find, below is a list of the Cadfael novels in order of publication:

A Morbid Taste for Bones

One Corpse Too Many

Monk's Hood

St. Peter's Fair

The Leper of St. Giles

The Virgin in the Ice

The Sanctuary Sparrow

The Devil's Novice

Dead Man's Ransom

The Pilgrim of Hate

An Excellent Mystery

The Raven in the Foregate

The Rose Rent

The Hermit of Eyton Forest

The Confession of Brother Haluin

The Heretic's Apprentice

A Rare Benedectine

The Potter's Field
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Candi
"Justice can be arrived at by more routes than one."

I thought this book was a swell start to this series! Brother Cadfael, monk by vocation and detective by circumstance, is a really delightful character. A medieval-time, Welsh-born man, Cadfael now carries out his monastic duties at Shrewsbury Abbey in England. He has not been in the service of the church his entire life, however, and that is what makes him such an intriguing fellow. "For Brother Cadfael had come late to the monastic life, like
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Werner
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of historical mysteries
Recommended to Werner by: I was a fan of the PBS Brother Cadfael episodes on Mystery!
Note, Aug. 7, 2017: I edited this just now to correct a minor typo.

Dame Edith Pargeter had already, by 1977, made a reputation for herself, under the pen name of Ellis Peters, as a mystery writer; but under her own name, she was also a respected author of historical fiction, much of it set in medieval Wales. When she brought the two genres together in this first of many novels, set in the border country between England and Wales (where she grew up) in the turbulent mid-1100s and featuring Brothe
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Willow
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is actually quite good.

I must admit though, I had a hard time getting through it. In fact, I pretty much had to sit myself down and force myself to read through to the end. I’ve decided that has much more to do with me than the book itself (consequently my high rating). The truth is, I just don’t like mysteries, and now I know that even by setting the mystery in a fascinating time period, this doesn’t change. When I was younger, I used to read every Agatha Christi ‘Poirot’ story I cou
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Wanda
I am quite sure that I used to own a copy of this novel, back in the early 1980s. I finally donated it because I just couldn’t get into the story. Now, I look back at my younger self and shake my head, because this time around I found the story to be very accessible and very easy to engage. Another instance of the right book at the right time—not suitable for me in my 20s, but eminently suitable for me in my 50s.

I think that Brother Cadfael will become an old friend—I will certainly be reading t
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Sara
The first of the Brother Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters, which I have just discovered is a pseudonym for Edith Pargeter, a Welsh woman by birth and a historian by nature. I would not have suspected that these stories were written by a woman because she captures the brothers of the Shrewsbury Abbey, a Medieval enclave of male figures, perfectly,

From the stuffy, overblown Prior Robert to Brother Cadfael himself, every character is believable and interesting. You soon realize that it takes all kin
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Apr 18, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: library-has
$1.99 Kindle sale, today (Dec. 13, 2017) only. Some of my GR friends love this medieval mystery series, so I think I'm going to give it a shot.
Chrissie
Jan 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Marvelous story. You have to read it to find out exactly what happens. A fun spoof on religion. The historical detail, the characters, and the humor are enchanting. By the end I loved Brother Cadfael and all the villagers of Gwytherin, Wales. An utterly charming tale and funny too!
Susan in NC
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, favorites
I first read Brother Cadfael over 30 years ago during high school and college breaks; I became addicted and thus became a lifelong love of accurate and well-written historical mysteries.

I’d seen reviews by GR friends and felt it was time to revisit Shrewsbury and the delightful world of Cadfael. This was a very satisfying re-read for me, and I’ll be revisiting this series again in the new year. I love Cadfael’s decency, warmth and humanity - and humor. Same reason I enjoyed Margaret Frazer’s Dam
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Ace
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ace by: Ancient & Medieval Fiction
My first by this author introducing Brother Cadfael who's powers of observation and deduction ensure that he's always a part of the action and at times a little above the law. I enjoyed his character, he has a bit of a history, is not exactly pious and is a bit cheeky.
FotisK
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Δεν θυμάμαι πολλά από το 1994 που το διάβασα, είναι η αλήθεια. Σίγουρα πάντως δεν ήταν κάτι σπουδαίο. Πρέπει να αρχίσω να μοιράζω βιβλία, μου φαίνεται.
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I read some of the Brother Cadfael books years ago & found them just ok. May have been my age or (more likely) that this is a series that needs to be read in order. Clearly there is more to the good brother than his skills as a herbalist! No doubt more will be revealed about his past in later books.

I don't know anything about 12th century Wales or England, but certainly Peters had given the narrative & dialogue a very authentic feel. & monastery politics feels like modern office or s
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Marijan
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
kratko, zanimljivo, na momente malo suhoparno, no vrlo dobro djelce. pogotovu kad zamišljaš likove iz serije.
Stephen
2.0 to 2.5 stars. I picked this book up after really enjoying Dissolution by C. J. Sansom and wanting to try another historical mystery. While well written, I found this book to be fairly dull and the main character not nearly as interesting as Sansom's Matthew Shardlake. Not horrible by any means, just not great.
Sara
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
So this was my first foray into Ellis Peter's quaint medieval world of a man who's opted to live out his golden years as a brother in a Benedictine monastery in Shrewsbury, England. Brother Cadfael has found his calling as an herbalist and gardener and takes pride in ferrying the younger brothers of the order through their novitiates. He's lived a full and varied life, traveling the world as a soldier and sailor and getting his share of the ladies while he was at it.

As the story begins Prior Ro
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Terri
Ah ha! We meet at last Brother Cadfael. Pray tell, Brother, was it as boring for you as it was for me?
I have heard much about the Brother Cadfael series and heard plenty of good reports on the books, including the first book in the series. This one. A Morbid Taste For Bones.
Having been one of the only English speaking persons in the world to have never read any of the books or watched any of the tv shows I have had A Morbid Taste For Bones on my radar for a goodling amount of time. Always putti
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Book Concierge
The head of the Benedictine Abbey in Shrewsbury, England, sends an expedition of monks to retrieve the remains of Saint Winifred from her resting place in Gwytherin, Wales. But the villagers of Gwytherin are not uniformly keen on the idea of losing their beloved saint. When the leading opponent to moving the saint’s bones is found dead, apparently shot with an arrow, some take it as a sign that the Saint approves the move. But Brother Cadfael recognizes that the murder was done by a human, and t ...more
Chrisl
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Didn't read this enjoyable informative series until after retiring.
Exceptional treat to spend time with Brother Cadfael, made rare by not experiencing series burnout. Glad I could read them all in a short time span.
***
For Cadfael fans, you might also like the author's Heaven Tree trilogy, perhaps try the first volume.
The Heaven Tree Trilogy
***
In time and setting context, perhaps Penman would appeal with Here Be Dragons.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
Hannah
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads, mysteries
Having enjoyed the TV series (starring Derek Jacobi as Cadfael), I've long wanted to read the books on which they were based. This first book in the series was a treat. Peters has an easy writing style, and the story was intriguing and kept my interest, even though having seen its TV twin I knew how it would play out. There are many parallels to the TV adaptation, but also some slight changes as well, which was ok. Brother Cadfael is a wonderful leading character. I am looking forward to seeing ...more
Laura
This is the first book of the Chronicles of Brother Cadfael series but not the 1st one I've read. Still more to come soon.

4* A Rare Benedictine (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, prequel stories 0.1-0.3)
3* A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1)
3* One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2)
3* Monk's Hood (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #3)
3* The Virgin in the Ice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #6)
3* Dead Man's Ransom (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #9)
4* The
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Andrew
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is at its core a whodunnit however what sets it apart is the setting - 12 century in and around Shrewsbury. Now The first thing that I want to say is that this book (and in fact the whole series being written between the mid 70s and mid 90s) was ground breaking as no one had really broken the historical fiction genre and certainly not mixing it with the crime genre as well. However Ellis Peters did so and repeatedly.

Now I am sure there were books in this style written before Cadfael and th
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Laura
3.75 stars. I really enjoyed the first in this Brother Cadfael series, and look forward to continuing with it. It wasn't a page-turner that constantly called me back to it, but I was happy to spend time with the characters when I did pick it up. There is a lot to like about Brother Cadfael, I love the setting, and am slowly learning about medieval history, which is great. I also like a series in which religion figures prominently and positively, and people try to be good to one another, and show ...more
Sharon Penman
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the Brother Cadfael series, except for the very last book. My favorite is Virgin in the Ice.
Jon
Sep 15, 2008 added it
Recommended to Jon by: Ron Andrea
C.
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I take four days to read a 250-page story, I am unexcited. That is daunting because I have gathered over twenty of Ellis Peters' prolific novels! Her real name was Edith Pargeter. I thought I would love these mysteries which are so revered. I like the characters and originality of their attributes, setting, and era but positively winced over such indulgent writing: the most important aspect for me. I can read any subject if the author is captivating. "A Morbid Taste For Bones" is slow-paced a ...more
Hanne
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a weird way, this book is pure nostalgia.

I never read this book before, but my mother used to have the entire collection and in my memories it seems like she was constantly reading one of them while i was a kid (which is probably not really true, but you know how memories work! they are alway slightly distorting the truth).
I saw this book a little while ago in the library and i just had to read it now.

It is a nice, quick and enjoyable read. Not too much suspense (although i am glad i was able
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Petra
Dec 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun story featuring a medieval monk with a past. I really enjoyed this visit of Olde England, the myths, the travel. The villagers of Gwytherin are a wonderful group.
There's not much I can say without giving away a mystery. The adventures of Father Cadfael and the others is a fun, human, warm story of murder, friendship, faith, hope, truth.
Blaine DeSantis
Interesting book set back in 1145 AD, about a Benedictine Brother who solves mysteries. Is short, barely 200 pages, but I found it a slow and tedious book to read. This is the first of 20 books in the series and so obviously it is a popular series. The plot is interesting enough, as well as the solving who killed the one individual in the book, but again it was just a slow read for me. I may try one more in the series to see if they get better or whether being more familiar with the characters I ...more
Lori
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Prior Robert wants to remove Saint Winifred's bones from a Welsh village to the monastery. Someone opposed to the plan is found dead. Brother Cadfael, former Crusader turned monk, suspects a fellow monk's responsibility for the murder and investigates. The author often uses medieval vocabulary, appropriate to the setting, which slows one's speed, but it is worth the reader's effort.
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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
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Other books in the series

Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2)
  • 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)
“It's a kind of arrogance to be so certain you're past redemption.” 23 likes
“I do believe I begin to grasp the nature of miracles! For would it be a miracle, if there was any reason for it? Miracles have nothing to do with reason. Miracles contradict reason, they strike clean across mere human deserts, and deliver and save where they will. If they made sense, they would not be miracles.” 21 likes
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