Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Monk’s Hood By Ellis Peter

Monk’s Hood set in the 1100’s in an abbey in the outskirts of London features Brother Cadfael, Abbey’s Herbologist as the Hero. I am not sure if I have read the first book, this is the third chronicle and the name Cadfael looked familiar so I picked it from the library. After reading Name of the Rose, I am fascinated by the murders and crime in abbey’s etc so I picked it up.

Monk’s Hood is a prominent herb in Brother Cadfael’s oil for the treatment of aches. As obvious it is a poison that could kill any person who has ingested within hours. There is a small problem with the Abbey and the Abbot had to leave to London to meet the King and Prior Robert, who is ambitious, is left in charge of the Abbey. There is a guest at the abbey an old man who has left his inheritance to the abbey in exchange for food and shelter for life for him and his wife for life. As story unfolds we learn that the old man to spite his stepson has disinherited him and left the inheritance for the abbey. The old man is poisoned and killed. Who killed him? There is the wayward stepson, the sad wife, the sour servant who is mad that he is made a slave when he was born a free man, and there is the son born of illegal marriage who seems to gain nothing by the murder. Who is the killer? The son seems the immediate suspect. Cadfael wants to solve the murder not just because his medicine was used to kill instead of bringing relief, but also because he was affianced to the lady in his younger days before he went on to the crusades and took his vows. Cadfael feels that if he stayed on and married the lady, the son could be his and more he wants to prove the boy innocent. Will Cadfael proof the son is innocent? Will he catch the killer? That is the story. Not much of a surprise, you can easily guess the killer.

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