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Black Is the Colour of My True Love's Heart (Felse, #6)
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Black Is the Colour of My True Love's Heart (Felse Investigations #6)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  535 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Singers and musicians are gathered for a course in folk music that will occupy a weekend in the fantastic country mansion called Follymead. Most come only to sing or to listen, but one or two have non-musical scores to settle. When brilliantly talented Liri Palmer sings “Black, black, black is the color of my true-love’s heart!" she clearly has a message for someone in the ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 1967)
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Maureen E
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I started this book and found that it was going to be about folk singers in the 1960s, I winced. I’ve read several mysteries where young people of that era figure and even if the author treats them with some kindness, it’s always that heavy-handed “oh those silly dears” kindness. Well, I did Ellis Peters a wrong. I think she must have been something of a folk song enthusiast herself (or maybe I should say ballad–she seems to prefer that term). I kind of called the twist, but I read her for ...more
Black is the Colour of my True Love's Heart by Ellis Peters.

Follymead College is holding a weekend of folk music. This will be educational as well as entertaining. Those in attendance will be Inspector Felse's son Dominic and his close friend Tossa. Edward Arundale, the warden of Follymead would have been in charge of the week end events except that he has appointments to keep on his agenda. The week-end itself has been arranged by his wife,Audrey, a long time admirer of folk music.
It's not lon
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, romance
While most people know Peters' Brother Cadfael series, I think her Inspector Felse series is much better. Freed from the demands of setting a story in a medieval setting, Peters' writing just sings. And listening to it in Simon Prebble's voice--the textbook definition of 'plummy'--is almost a sensuous experience, for those who love language.

Beyond just the writing, Peters creates wonderful characters--and settings--full of depth and nuance. They seem to spring from the earth of the Welsh border
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A weekend seminar on folk music is meeting on an historical estate, called Follymead for the wild imagination that was employed in its buildings and grounds. Amid this sinister, beautiful environment, musicians and specialists give performances almost as dramatic as the clash of huge personalities going on behind the scenes. Ellis Peters created some splendid characters in her time, and in BLACK IS THE COLOUR OF MY TRUE-LOVE'S HEART she may have reached her zenith.

My favorite Contemporary Myster
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I read this perhaps thirty years ago when I was in the midst of devouring Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books. I decided to revisit it to see if it stood up to my memory of it. "Black is the Color..." is part of an earlier series that she wrote--the Inspector Felse books, which also feature his son Dominic.
Is it possible for a mystery to be gentle and beautiful? In this case the answer is yes. Peters set this mystery in a college hosting a weekend folk music seminar. She weaves the music into t
Aug 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
I rather like this author's Brother Cadfael books - but this was terrible! The first few chapters wandered between 3rd-limited POV (a few different characters) and Omni...or more correctly, an attempt at Omni that really didn't work. I got annoyed by head-hopping, and then seriously confused by same. Wait - whose head are we in now? And who are we talking to? And by the way, who are we talking about?

And then there was the bit where she described the grounds of the Stately Home as "Victorian Goth
Patrick Neylan
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, crime
Crime writing has come a long way since this sub-Agatha Christie fare was considered worthy of anyone's attention. It fits the stereotype of something homely, set in a Middle England familiar to the little old lady who sits in a cottage knocking out whodunnits peopled by her friends and neighbours.

It's not just the characters and settings that are familiar to the point of cliché. The writing is as cardboard as the characters: the plot plods along, nudged by pedestrian prose that artlessly expla
Mar 12, 2016 rated it liked it
“Musical Mysteries in a Minor Mode”

While American youth was reveling in the Summer of Love (1967) their British counterparts were enthralled by the various applications of Folk Music presented during a special weekend seminar at Follymead—a quaintly Gothic jumble of architectural style and no particular taste. A most atypical country setting for a murder, with dozens of eager “students,” a distinguished host professor and famous guest artists. So which will prove more difficult: to commit the
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunnits
Black is the Colour of My True Love's Heart has all the quintessentially Felsian elements - a murder mystery that isn't, quite, and that unspools slowly and gently right at the end; lyrical and languorously focused prose; strong themes of decorous convention vs uncivilized purity of emotion; and a preoccupation with one of Ellis Peters's own non-murderous pet interests. In this case, it's folk music - or ballads, as she lets the long-haired singer Liri Palmer emphasize for her. But the story is, ...more
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, 2013, uk, ellis-peters
I liked this book, but didn't love it. I've read quite a few of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books, and I think I like those better. Mainly I think for the juxtaposition of crime with the completely un-modern settings. However that said, if another Felse book came my way I'd certainly give it a try.

As for this story itself, it was easy enough reading, but I felt it wrapped up a bit quickly. I got a bit lost with all the folksy stuff - I've never been one for reading long passages of poetry or s
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Loved it. About a ballad singer, like a ballad.

"It’s still true, people love to be read to, to listen to stories. Even those kids who are so with it that they’ve completely lost contact with most of it – ‘it’ being the total body of mental and spiritual fulfilment and delight, the mass of music, the body of books, the entire apparition of art – even they will shiver and thrill to this blood-stained tragedy, though they won’t recognise their excitement as something dating back into prehistory."
Ginny Lim
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Ellis Peters book I read and the one that cemented my love for historical detective fiction. The details are amazing, the use of the songs were perfect (and a master model alas to those song fanfics ape and never quite make it) in telling the story. I'm not usually keen on romances, but this couple I rooted for and the rockiness of their relationship came through with dignity.

It did take me a while to realise much later that Inspector Felse is the titular character of the ser
Pamela Mclaren
Musicians and singers are gathered for a folk music course at a country mansion. While many are enthusiastic attendees, including Inspector George Felse's son and girlfriend, the two most high profile of the attendees, Lucien Galt and the late-arriving Liri Palmer, are clearly at odds. Into the mix, a 15-year-old girl with a crush on Galt and perhaps something more between the head master's wife and Galt. Very soon, the folk music course is short one of its members ...
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Ellis Peters really had a skill for setting a mood and painting pictures. The Inspector Felse books are just as good as the Brother Cadfael ones, for which the author is most well known. In a way, I think I like these better. Although this was an easy-going tale, I was drawn in by the characters and the setting and certainly motivated to see who the murderer is and why. Again, Simon Prebble is an outstanding reader.
M. Keedwell
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ellis Peters is my favourite author, hands down. I love her simple, but lyrical writing. Her writing makes my heart hurt :) She's so good at recognizing the good and not-so-good in people and describing the situations that result from imperfect people, in a sympathetic, nonjudgmental way. This story is lovely. Evocative, relatable characters, a beautiful love story and a well-done murder mystery.
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Honestly, this read more like Brother Cadfael catapulted into the twentieth century than it did Inspector Felse. And while I love and adore Brother Cadfael ... I prefer to read him in his own setting, not horning in on Felse's territory.

Or maybe I'm just bitter because Bunty only gets a brief moment in this book.

Either way, it is a good book, just not one of the strongest in this particular series.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I first read this book in 1989 and just read it again. I love the setting, in a Gothic mansion in the west countryside near the border of Wales, at a folk music seminar. The characters are well drawn and the plot devious enough that it is not obvious at once. I especially liked it that the author describes adolescence as well as young adulthood with such perfect skill. I really wish this book came with all the music on a recording!
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is set in a music school in the English countryside, as they host a folk music symposium. After the disappearance of two individuals, Inspector George Felse is called in by his son. This mystery is competently told, but not terribly exciting or unusual. Inspector Felse differs little from Inspector Alleyn or Inspector West. In academia this one is an average C.
Roland Clarke
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever plot and well written, but too erudite a style for me - although that was in keeping with its setting against the background of a folk/ballad music weekend. Ellis Peters does know how to take you down dark pathways.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have been re-reading some of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books and found a sequel to Piper on the Mountain. I like the style of Peters and enjoyed this book. She does paint a lovely visual picture while creating some interesting mysteries.
Jennifer Lundstrom
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Really good mystery because I couldn't figure it out, but I finally did before the end. However, terribly sad story. It did not leave me with any good feelings. Too many negative things in this one for me.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A really fun look back at the 1960's folk music scene, and as always, a corking good read with a surprise ending.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I always enjoy a good Ellis Peters mystery- especially one with the Felses!
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love Ellis Peters, there's no way denying that. Her writing style is simply amazing.
Admittedly, she could have written the story without giving all these hints in the end, but I still loved it.
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a book that really grabbed me. I love Ellis Peters anyway and this is one of the best. The recording by Simon Prebble was fabulous!
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very tricky mystery.
Nov 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I tried twice and couldn't get into this one. Prefer the Brother Cadfael stories.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Murder at a folk festival at a remote mansion. Ellis Peters writes an excellent British whodunit. I enjoy reading her novels and have read most of the Felse series.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Better series than I expected. Good mysteries.
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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
More about Ellis Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Felse Investigations (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Fallen Into the Pit (Felse, #1)
  • Death and the Joyful Woman (Felse, #2)
  • Flight of a Witch (Felse, #3)
  • A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs (Felse, #4)
  • The Piper on the Mountain (Felse, #5)
  • The Grass Widow's Tale (Felse, #7)
  • The House of Green Turf (Felse, #8)
  • Mourning Raga (Felse, #9)
  • The Knocker on Death's Door (Felse, #10)
  • Death to the Landlords (Felse, #11)