The medieval monk digs for clues when a body is unearthed by a plow: “His detecting talents are as dazzling as ever” (Publishers Weekly).
When a newly plowed field recently given to the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul yields the body of a young woman, Brother Cadfael is quickly thrown into a delicate situation. The field was once owned by a local potter named Ruald, who had abandoned his beautiful wife, Generys, to take monastic vows.
Generys was said to have gone away with a lover, but now it seems as if she had been murdered. With the arrival at the abbey of young Sulien Blount, a novice fleeing homeward from the civil war raging in East Anglia, the mysteries surrounding the corpse start to multiply.
Peter's 17th mystery featuring Brother Cadfael finds the 12th-century monk at his most sober and reflective, but his detecting talents are as dazzling as ever. When a newly tilled field recently given to the Benedictine abbey yields the hastily buried body of a young woman, Brother Cadfael takes a keen and immediate interest in the situation. Ruald, the former tenant of the land, entered the abbey as a novice a year earlier, abandoning his beautiful, young and extremely resentful wife, Generys. She has since mysteriously disappeared. Though it seems likely that the body is hers, Ruald is quickly cleared of suspicion via an unlikely source. Sulien Blount, a monk fleeing homeward from the devastating civil war near his own abbey, has solid proof that Generys was recently seen alive. When a second suspect, an itinerant peddlar, is arrested in connection with the murder, Sulien is again able to clear him. Brother Cadfael, deeply troubled, feels that Sulien knows much more than he is saying. An unusual air of melancholy pervades this novel as war, illness and human frailties take their tolls on the weary citizens of Shrewsbury. Created with Peters's consummate skill, Brother Cadfael's world is here seen through a darker glass.