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Title: Raven in the Foregate
Series: Brother Cadfael #12
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
A new priest is installed in the town [as opposed to being at the abbey] when the old priest, Father Adam, dies. Where Father Adam was an easy going, accepting man who loved his flock even when they strayed and was friends with all, Father Ailnoth is a whole nother matter.
Moving boundary stones, calling into question whether a man is a freeman or surf, refusing to interrupt his prayers to give last rights to a dying baby and then not allowing it to be buried in the church grounds because it had not been shriven, excommunicating a young woman for her wandering ways, beating the boys who he was supposed to be teaching, Ailnoth has turned the town against him. So when Ailnoth turns up dead, there are more suspects than you can shake Father Ailnoths ebony staff at.
The war between Empress Maude and King Stephen is still going on and their vassals fortunes rise and fall according to how things are going. One young man is on Maude's side and of course gets involved in the death of Father Ailnoth while falling in love with a local girl.
Cadfael solves the mystery. The End.
This is book 12 in the series. If you've stuck around this long, this book will not dissuade you from continuing.
I am finding that I am liking the historic aspects of the novel more than the mystery, as it gets boring with somebody “dying” and then solving who/why, etc. I am not a big mystery fan, so it helps keep my interest by showing other things.
I am getting a bit tired of “young man comes to Shrewsbury, gets involved in a murder in some way and escapes with the help of a local lovely and they go off to X to get married”. This young man, Benet, showed some real promise as a Class A Donkey's Head. He was an idiot and I was hoping something terrible would happen to him. Oh well, he wasn't the one responsible for Ailnoth's death and since he's leaving, I'm hoping I won't have to read about him again.
Other than that, this is a Cadfael mystery. He does things in his little herbarium, pokes around the scene of the crime, and solves things.