The Devil's Door Audio Cassette – Aug 11 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Countess Alys of Tonnerre, victim of a brutal beating, is barely alive when her husband Raynald brings her to the Abbess Heloise at the convent of the Paraclete in medieval France. Young Catherine LeVendeur, who helps care for Alys, is disturbed by scars that attest to the woman's prior mistreatment. Upon the Countess's death, the Paraclete inherits a small piece of unimpressive land, which sets off a furor: Raynald claims the convent stole the property, and the prior of a nearby monastery makes a handsome offer for it. Catherine maintains her intense curiosity about Alys's unhappy end even through the arrival of her betrothed, Edgar of Wedderlie, with Peter Abelard; after Catherine and Edgar's wedding, the pair travel to Troyes and, at Heloise's request, search for information on the mysterious bequest. Catherine soons stumbles on another mystery: the discovery of a headless corpse that may ignite the anti-Semitism that is running high during this Easter season of A.D. 1140. With this meticulously prepared work, Newman ( Death Comes as Epiph any ) adroitly crafts a puzzle in which the intriguing medieval material, providing much more than mere background, informs the entire novel with a vivid sense of past and guides the responses of the engaging, lively cast.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Fresh from her sleuthing in Death Comes As Epiphany (1993), 12th-century novice nun Catherine LeVendeur will leave the convent of Abbess Hlose and marry Edgar, student of the now frail Peter Abelard. The pair will take on dangers with derring-do to solve the curious murder of a young countess named Alys, whose death has something to do with property bequeathed to the convent and the tangled fortunes of a particularly nasty family. Among the puzzlements: Alys's sister, a silent nun presumed dead to the world, and her bitter secret; the death and dismemberment of a mild gossip; an assault on a convent nun; the tangled motives of the dead countess's horrid mother, who has lethal plans for snooping Catherine. Throughout, there are congenial chats with kin, the like-minded, and the high-minded. Catherine's father, a ``Jewish apostate,'' has ongoing problems, as does the beleaguered Abelard, headed for condemnation by the Council of Sens. With richly satisfying settings, this smooth mystery is tight as a tambour. Top-notch sleuthing, classy with Latin saws and observations. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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For any reader with some background in Latin or Anglo-Saxon, each chapter begins with a short quotation that will have you dusting off your old language skills.
The actual plot itself is quite contrived, but what murder mystery isn't contrived? The plot of this book contains a legal hearing (a trial) near its end that is worthy of a Perry Mason TV show with emotional outbursts from almost everybody present. There's even a missing human head in the story that appears near the end in a very public way. The story includes a primer on medieval smelting of iron. The main character gets married in this story so there's ample discussion of their frustrated honeymoon. There are plenty of hints toward the end that she may be pregnant, and at the very end we learn the truth.
One interesting aspect of the ten part Catherine LeVendeur series of novels is to try and figure out the thinking behind the selection of the book's title. The titles are always intriguing, but their application to the story tends to be obscure. This book is the second one in the series. I think anyone who enjoys the Brother Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters would also enjoy these novels as well.