This is the sixteenth chronicle of Brother Cadfael, ex soldier/crusader, herbalist and healer, lately come monk and incorrigibly inquisitive sleuth. Elave is a young man who has accompanied his master, William of Lythwood,to Jerusalem and the East and who followed his instructions to the letter by bringing home his body after death to be buried at the Abbey Of St.Peter and St.Paul. He also brought with him an elaborately carved chest, with unknown contents, as the dowry for William's foster daughter. Before Elave left with his master on his travels, he had filled the position of what would be known today as an accoutant, keeping stocks of the family's money and possessions. This position was filled in his absence by Aldwin, a dour, pessimistic man who is convinced that he'll be discarded now that Elave has returned, and so sets about making trouble for him. Aldwin's murdered body is found and suspicions point to Elave as the killer. At this same time, a very self important Canon of the Church is a visitor at the Abbey and when Elave, somewhat in his cups, is heard making what could be taken as heretical statements on points of Church law, the Canon insists that he be taken before a court of the Church and tried for heresy. Brother Cadfael investigates both claims in his methodical way and, once again, saves the day. Perhaps this story is a little too tied up with points of theology for some readers, but it's still a most enjoyable read for Cadfael fans.