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Valley of Dry Bones (Medieval Mystery, #7)
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Valley of Dry Bones (Medieval Mystery #7)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  284 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In the late summer of 1274, King Edward has finally been anointed England’s ruler, and his queen contemplates a pilgrimage in gratitude for their safe return from Outremer, a journey that will include a stay at Tyndal Priory. Envoys are sent to confirm that everything will be suitable for the king’s wife, and Prioress Eleanor nervously awaits them, knowing that regal visit ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published May 27th 2010)
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Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mollyjr
Recommended to stormhawk by: netgalley
Murder is the most terrible of crimes, even when the victim is a man universally disliked and feared by his contemporaries.

Echoing Eco's The Name of the Rose and Mistress of the Art of Death, Valley of the Dry Bones is a murder mystery set in a medieval monastery. I am not enough of a medievalist to know if her characters act in ways that would be consistent with courtiers and religious of the time, but within the context of the novel, they do not seem out of place. I like books of detecting th
Vicki Cline
A group of courtiers comes to Tyndal Priory to see if it will be suitable as a stop on a pilgrimage the queen is planning to make. Included in the group is Sheriff Fulke, crowner Ralf's older brother - they are not on the best of terms. One of the company (with a lot of enemies) is found dead near Brother Thomas' hermitage in the woods. I was glad to be back at the priory with familiar characters.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
When it comes to murder mysteries, I come to it with certain expectations. One of these expectations is that the book will include a murder. When I'd read 70 pages without coming across a dead body or any whiff of blood, I was starting to wonder if this was the right book. Eventually the body did show up, but when the "murder" and "mystery" part of a "murder mystery" doesn't show up until page 74 in a 247 page book, well, you'll have to forgive me for finding the start slow enough I found myself ...more
Susan in NC
One of the things that draws me back to this historical mystery series and other series set in medieval times is reading about a time and place so different from our modern world. Royal generally provides a historically accurate and fascinating look into the slower-paced lives of her recurring characters, almost all religious serving at Tyndal Priory (some of the supporting characters, like Ralf the Crowner and Signy the innkeeper, are "civilians" from the nearby village). I especially admire Pr ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
On Royal, Sharon Kay Penman says: "Anyone who hasn't read Priscilla Royal's mysteries yet is in for a treat."  I like treats and I hadn't read any of her books, so I decided to dig in one rainy afternoon.  I had no problem getting into the novel at first even though I hadn't read the previous six books.  The pace was slow but that felt appropriate given that life then was a little slower.  Each chapter loosely followed a single character and so a good part of the book is devoted to simply settin ...more
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Believe it or not, this was inspired by the author's learning of the medieval liturgical dramas, church attitudes, and the artistic enjoyment available from this form of drama. The book is short, under 200 pages and is a very effective 13th century mystery taking place in a remote priory dedicated as a hospital and semi-contemplative community. The effects of the Simon de Montfort rebellion still has not totally calmed down. Many hurts are still not too far under the surface and this visit is co ...more
Priscilla Royal is one of my favorite mystery authors, and I have enjoyed this series very much. Therefore, it pains me to say that I think this book is the weakest of the series. As always, the writing is elegant and clear, and the historical background is well researched and conveyed seamlessly throughout the book. The most disappointing aspect of the book is the plot itself. The murder of a disliked nobleman starts off with promise (it helps that the victim is so disliked that there are numer ...more
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the seventh in the series, which I am not reading in order. This series, though- while I'm sure it's richer if read in order!- does not really require that...although for this volume, some familiarity with the basic set-up is helpful.

While I loved the atmosphere, and learning more about the ongoing characters, this was not as satisfactory as a mystery as the others I have read in this series. The overall plot seemed arbitrary, and Simon was utterly revolting; I expect he will feature in
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A pilgrimage stays at Tyndal Priory. They are making sure it is fit for the new queen. Baron Otes, who is a disagreeable sort and not a very scrupulous man, is accompanying the pilgrimage. A murder takes place in the night and the body if found near a hermitage. The prioress, the sheriff, and the king's crowner are on the case. The dialog is somewhat old English with lots of old vocabulary. I found the book to be predictable and not very engaging. I did want to see what happened but it was not o ...more
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is solidly written and a mystery, not just a procedural. The clues unfold until you must know who has done the deed. If you are truly slow, as with Christie, the clues increase until you are hit over the head with the guilty. The characters are fun. The central character is Eleanor, a prioress in a small abbey, no place in particular. The surrounding characters are intelligent and interesting. The details of medieval life are also carefully rendered without making that the job of the b ...more
3.5 Stars. Priscilla Royal is favorite of mine but I like the more recent ones better. Time has given more depth to the characters, perhaps they have gotten to know each other better. Additionally I enjoy the supporting characters the best of all.

A fine interpretation of the political era that was in existence at that time. Prioress Eleanor in succeeding books is more enmeshed with the Queen which works quite well.

Recommended for Medieval mystery fans.

I liked this one better than Chamber's of Death, but still wonder if by the 7th book, my interest in the characters is waning. Maybe it is time for Ralf to have a story entirely to himself. Or Sister Ann. Or for the plots to have less to do with Eleanor's troubling attraction to Thomas.

I still love the history included in the books, especially Royal's Author's Notes and Bibliographic source material.

Purchased. Poisoned Pen Press

Medieval Mystery. 2011. Print length: 245 pages.
A religious, medieval mystery, I was excited to start reading it because I love the time period. I wasn't overly thrilled with much of this story. There were so many false clues and speculations dropped that it was hard to tell where the plot was actually going at times. The characters were hard to open to, with the exception of the hermit, which I loved.

Susan McDuffie
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice to reconnect with this series; I had read the first two or so but have missed quite a few. Now I'll have to go catch up--there are some very interesting relationships amongst the main characters and I'm curious to see how they've fared. Very enjoyable medieval mystery, with characters true to their times, but relevant to ours.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really like books set in this time frame along with books about Royalty, but I'm not a huge fan of mystery, which this book was, along with the focused on religion and the slow pace.
Unfortunately this book book didn't cut it for me. Regrettably I can only give it one star.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for this digital copy.
Louise Chambers
Abandoned. My pet peeves are "authentic" dialog and dialog driven narrative. Other readers may not mind.
Could not like, understand, or want to read more of these characters. I felt as if I had ugly bits of them clinging to my clothes and in my hair, like mollases; just felt like a mess.
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book with the Play of Daniel being performed & finally the introduction of Ralf's brother & some insight into the family. The crusades certainly took their toll as does war now - no winners.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I LOVE this series. But this one didn't do it for me. Oh I liked it...but it wasn't amazing. Still, if you want to read a good mystery series set in a medieval monestary (ha, ha) This series is pretty good!
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read;not the best in the series.
Listened to this on audiobook while driving. Good reader and interesting medieval mystery.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A paltry offering compared to earlier books. It was slack, lacked suspense, entirely boring.
Sarah Haman
Well researched... slow moving. Lots of conversation and thought that demonstrates how those in the 1200s thought and felt. Very focused on religion and the "Christian" nature of things.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Stopped reading this because it simply wasn't that interesting.
Susan Corcoran
I never fail to enjoy these medieval mysteries. Another Fabulos read. Ling may the series continue.
Susan Jaffe Pober
Not one of the better ones in the Royal's Medieval Mystery series, but it's always fun to read the well-researched historical aspects.
Fran Nunez
rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2014
Marla Sisley
rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2017
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Oct 03, 2014
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Priscilla has a degree in world literature from San Francisco State University, where she discovered the beauty of medieval literature. She is a theater fan as well as reader of history, mysteries, and fiction of lesser violence. She lives in Northern California and belongs to the California Writers Club and Sisters in Crime.
More about Priscilla Royal...

Other Books in the Series

Medieval Mystery (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery, #1)
  • Tyrant of the Mind (Medieval Mystery, #2)
  • Sorrow Without End (Medieval Mystery, #3)
  • Justice for the Damned (Medieval Mystery, #4)
  • Forsaken Soul (Medieval Mystery, #5)
  • Chambers of Death (Medieval Mystery, #6)
  • A Killing Season (Medieval Mystery, #8)
  • Sanctity of Hate (Medieval Mystery, #9)
  • Covenant with Hell  (Medieval Mystery, #10)
  • Satan's Lullaby (Medieval Mystery, #11)

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