arthuriana's review against another edition
while the story in these pages are quite riveting in its own right, it still lacked the finer details of historical minutiae that i first wanted to have. i have long been interested in religion and history, and religious history mixing the two of them is a match made in heaven—yet sadly while this book delved into either subjects quite well, it never combined the two together. perhaps its recounting of the translation of saint winifred would have been charming years ago, but now it just seems like a historical footnote barely even given the attention it deserves.
yet for what it's worth, i do quite like this book. i'm probably going to pick up the sequel because, again, history-laden mystery narratives with a strong reek of religion hit a certain sweet spot for me. besides, it's well-written and quite rewarding, if i do say so myself. i won't say anything about the mystery itself because, again, i'm usually quite gifted in seeing mysteries a while off and so i was barely surprised; but it does the tricks of the crime mystery genre quite well.
ntrlycrly's review against another edition
catherine_t's review against another edition
In *A Morbid Taste for Bones,* the first in the series, Cadfael wangles his way into a pilgrimage to Wales, mostly on the basis that Prior Robert will need someone to translate for him, and as Cadfael is a Welshman born and bred, he's the obvious choice. The reason for the pilgrimage is that Brother Columbanus, a young and exceedingly devout monk, has been cured of a fit by the waters of Holywell, blessed by St. Winifred of Gwytherin, and Brother Jerome has had a vision that the relics of St. Winifred should come to the abbey at Shrewsbury. Prior Robert has been searching for a saint to bring pilgrims and glory to the abbey, so this seems to be an answer to their prayers. However, when they arrive in Gwytherin, the monks discover that St. Winifred isn't as neglected as they'd thought, and the entire town turns out to voice their opposition. But when the monks' main opponent turns up dead, Cadfael suspects a more earthly perpetrator.
The plot is in essence fairly straightforward and in the Golden Age "fair play" tradition, the reader can follow the clues along with the detective to reach the conclusion. I wavered until the revelation as to whom the murderer was, but in the end was satisfied. I won't give anything away here, of course; you'll have to read it for yourself. Suffice it to say, it's still a fairly surprising ending.
patrick_114's review against another edition
- Plot- or character-driven? Character
- Strong character development? Yes
- Loveable characters? It's complicated
- Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
This book came highly recommended to me from a cozy mystery group I'm in and it did not disappoint! It's a thoughtful historical mystery set in 12th century Wales with interesting characters and a deeper philosophical message (which is something you don't often see in mystery novels). Brother Cadfael in particular, is an intelligent and empathetic man who also happens to be rather adept at solving mysteries.
As an irreligious person, I sometimes find it difficult to understand and enjoy books where religion is important to the plot because the references and allusions fly right over my head. Thankfully, that wasn't the case with this book at all, which I really appreciated!
I do recognize however, that this book isn't going to be for everyone. For one, the language used can be a bit difficult to understand (which is understandable, given that it's set in medieval times). But the language, combined with the wordiness, can make for a tough read. It's also a slower-paced mystery. The mystery is not the 'star' of the plot, as it doesn't begin to unfold until several chapters into the book. There are also other plotlines, including the dispute over what to do with Saint Winifred's relics and complicated relationships between characters.
All in all, I really enjoyed this read, and I think mystery fans who are looking for something a little different from the books usually found in the genre might enjoy it too. In 1990, this book was listed in the top 100 crime novels of all time by the Crime Writers Association in the UK. After reading this book, I can see why they included it!
For more of my reviews, please visit:
Minor: Death of parent and MurderWhile the book discusses religion (the main character is a monk, plot is about a saint and her relics), the book does not preach.
drtlovesbooks's review against another edition
Brother Cadfael was a very interesting character, and the idea of a medieval monk solving mysteries worked.
I don't know if I'm going to pursue the rest of the series, but I wouldn't ignore them if they fell into my path.
lizaericagardiner's review against another edition
- Plot- or character-driven? A mix
- Strong character development? It's complicated
- Loveable characters? Yes
- Diverse cast of characters? No
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
Minor: Alcohol, Blood, Misogyny, Religious bigotry, Sexism, and Xenophobia
anngirl's review against another edition
poirot's review against another edition