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At the outset of Royal's absorbing sixth medieval mystery to feature Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal (after 2008's Forsaken Soul), Eleanor and a group returning from a journey through Norfolk take shelter from a bitter autumn rainstorm in a manor house near Tyndal after one of their party, a young nun, falls gravely ill. Eleanor and her companions receive a warm welcome, but they soon realize all is not well at the manor, whose residents include the earl of Lincoln's steward, the steward's family and staff. When a groom is brutally butchered in the stable and the cook accused of his murder, Eleanor and her faithful friend, Brother Thomas, can't help investigating what they soon see is a convenient rush to judgment by the local sheriff. As the death toll mounts, they discover any number of suspects among the manor's household. Once again, Royal combines a well-executed plot with authentic period detail. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.