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A Morbid Taste for Bones: The First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael [Hardcover]

Ellis Peters
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Aug. 25 1977 --  
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Book Description

Aug. 25 1977
A reissue of the first chronicle of Brother Cadfael.

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Product Description


'A cult figure of crime fiction.' -- Financial Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jennifer Bassett is Series Editor of the Oxford Bookworms Collection, for which she has written original stories One-Way Ticket and The President's Murderer. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel is one of two by Ellis Peters about the medieval detective Cadfael that I've now read. But I'm hooked! In this first volume of the extensive Brother Cadfael series, the medieval crime sleuth is part of a quest of monks pursuing the bones of saint Winifred from Welsh soil, a quest commissioned by the blessed lady herself in an apparent vision to Brother Columbanus. But the town which houses Winifred's body doesn't want to give up her blessed bones so easily, and the peaceful mission is soon disturbed by the murder of the leader of the town. Suspects abound, including two suitors to his beautiful daughter, both of whom could benefit from his murder. Is the arrow in his body really from the daughter's true love, or has the other suitor tried to frame him? And are all the monks themselves beyond suspicion? Only Cadfael with his humble yet brilliant mind can unravel the truth, and come with a remarkable solution that ties up all the loose ends. The twists of the story-line are so ingenious they rival and perhaps surpass the efforts of most best-selling thrillers today.
Peters' command of the English language is outstanding, as is her precise portrait of medieval times. Although the religious aspect forms the fabric on which the novel is painted, the real concern is with characterization and intrigue. The tale is cloaked in constant talk of the supernatural, but Peters actually offers a novel that is more psychological than religious, and it is by applying the principles of reason rather than religion that Cadfael discovers the truth. The intriguing element of mystery that makes detective Cadfael's presence essential to the plot clinches this novel as a romping success. If you enjoy mystery, as well as a writer's ability to make excellent use of the English language with colourful descriptions, you are sure to enjoy this book. And chances are, like me you won't be able to stop after reading volume 1!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good for Light Entertainment May 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An English monastery's plan to bring back the bones of a Welsh saint runs into a deadly complication in this undemanding mystery. The setting, medieval England and Wales in the early 12th Century, is no obstacle to enjoying the stroy since the author provides all the historical background and the reader need only supply a little imagination. I found "Bones" worth my while largely because of the vivid characterizations and the way it brings the Middle Ages to life. One detail I especially liked was that Brother Cadfael had no regrets about his former life as a soldier in the Crusades. Quick take: While it keeps your attention, "Bones" won't make you stay up half the night to finish it.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Life is full of twists and turns...and so is "A Morbid Taste for Bones." This "First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael" is the first book in a long series of mysteries set in medieval England and Wales.
I came to this book via Eugene Peterson's recommendation of the series in his book (actually a prolonged and annotated reading list) "Take and Read." Peterson has rarely let me down, and did not do so here...this is a delightful book.
"A Morbid Taste for Bones" is a cut above most of the other mysteries I have read. It not only keeps the reader guessing until the end, but it also has passages that reflect a keen insight into human nature. More than that, it well written (a lot of mysteries feel so mass-produced and sketchy). The characters here are well formed and eloquent. All of this is done without the usual gratuitous gore so often found in such books.
One of the more interesting subtexts to watch for are the different conceptions of forgiveness that the characters hold; these conceptions largely determine the actions of each one...something to ponder in real life.
I recommend "A Morbid Taste for Bones" to all those who enjoy absorbing and well written mysteries. I look forward to the other Chronicles of Brother Cadfael.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A shame I didn't read this one first July 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read one or two Cadfaels before, I decided it would be far better to try and read the 20 volumes in order, both to increase the sense of storyline and allow myself the feeling of accomplishment.
It's a pity that I had to undertake this long journey having read one or two stories previously, because they showed up weaknesses in this story that would otherwise not been noticed so readily.
The monks of Shrewsbury need a saint, because everyone else has one. It sounds ridiculous that people, especially monks, would think like this, but it is wholly believable considering just how much the fear of God existed in Cadfael's day. A visitation to one of the brothers and some generally strange antics from one of the younger ones, and the whole party ends up in the small Welsh village of Gwytherin. Cadfael is Welsh and so there is an interpreter. The language barrier is controlled well by Peters, and half trhe time we forget it exists - good storytelling. Anyway, the story meanders as the monks try to wrest the bones of the local Saint Winifred from the Welsh and needless to say they do not like it. Suddenly a murder, and Cadfael is onto it in a flash. The murderer is unmasked and we all go home happy. Or do we?
For those familiar with PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster, the ending in this mystery is rather like one of the cunning and succinct ways in which Jeeves invariably solves all Wooster's woes. Whereas in Jeeves and Wooster we are looking at a comedy, with Cadfael , we have a serious affair. The concise and overtly convenient manner in which Cadfael rounds things off is too much for reality. There was another way to end this story, and one which did not stretch the bounds of belief. But Peters has opted for the clean ending and the whole story suffers.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Cadfael and a great mystery
As with many books or stories that we get involve with, the characters and their relationships to others in the environment is an important as the mystery. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Cadfael and a great mystery
As with many books or stories that we get involve with, the characters and their relationships to others in the environment is an important as the mystery. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2010 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Cadfael and a great mystery
As with many books or stories that we get involve with, the characters and their relationships to others in the environment is an important as the mystery. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2007 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to the Cadfael series
I've read the first five books in this series and I love them all! A Morbid Taste for Bones may not even be the best of them, but do read the stories in order, there are a few... Read more
Published on May 22 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars I discern no love of the subject
Though this
story was set during mediaeval
times, in an atmosphere involving
Benedictine monks and Christian
liturgical practice, I detected no love on the... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2002 by Michael Ezzo
5.0 out of 5 stars I love these books!
I am generally not a fan of mystery novels, because so many of them are so poorly written. The Cadfael books, in contrast, are masterfully written, delightful mysteries. Read more
Published on June 14 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first in an addictive series
I have read the first ten books in this series (mostly) in order, and would recommend doing so. Otherwise, you'll miss referneces to previous incidents of importance, and also lose... Read more
Published on June 4 2001 by K. Eames
5.0 out of 5 stars Medieval murder, monastic setting
This story takes place in Britain toward the middle of the 12the century, less than a hundred years after the Norman Conquest, so the several groups involved have not had time or... Read more
Published on May 3 2001 by Alekos
4.0 out of 5 stars Ladies and Gentleman.... Brother Cadfael
Brother Cadfael introduced to us by Ellis Peters in a Morbid Taste for Bones is a brother at Saint Peter and Saint Paul Benedictine abbey in Shrewsbury. Read more
Published on April 29 2001 by booknblueslady
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