I think this is the third Ellis Peters book I read. I read Monk's Hood, I know because I reviewed it in my early blogging days. I am not sure if I read The Leper of St.Giles. I could have read the book or got it from library and returned it before completing as the book was due.
This is the thirteenth chronicle of Brother Cadfael, the herbologist Monk detective. But he doesn't do much detection here. The story takes place in 1142 in Shrewsbury, England. Young widow Judith Perle has given the use of a house to the abbey in return for one White Rose as rent from the garden to be remitted on a particular day every year. Such is the beauty and grace of Judith that there are suitors abound. But it is not just her beauty and grace alone that make suitors flock it is her wealth too. Judith is the proprietor of a flourishing clothier business which she runs successfully with the help of her cousin. Few days before the rent is to be remitted Brother Eluric is found dead and part of the Rose bush hacked. Who did it and why? Judith goes missing. What happened to her? Was she killed? Or an unscrupulous suitor hold her hostage to make her marry him?
There is only one solution to the puzzle and why does it take so long for Brother Cadfael to find it? I wish there were some twists and turns and a real surprise in the end.