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The Clerk's Tale (Sister Frevisse Medieval Mystery Series #11)

The Clerk's Tale (Sister Frevisse Medieval Mystery Series #11)

4.5 4
by Margaret Frazer

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St. Mary’s nunnery is a place of prayer and healing for women—so it is surprising to see a man sprawled out in the cloister garden. Dead. Less surprising, to Dame Frevisse, was the identity of the victim. Master Montfort was not particularly liked by anyone in the town of Goring—even his own wife and clerk. As royal escheator, he was trying to settle


St. Mary’s nunnery is a place of prayer and healing for women—so it is surprising to see a man sprawled out in the cloister garden. Dead. Less surprising, to Dame Frevisse, was the identity of the victim. Master Montfort was not particularly liked by anyone in the town of Goring—even his own wife and clerk. As royal escheator, he was trying to settle a heated inheritance dispute between a wealthy woman and her supposed nephew.
Now Dame Frevisse must step in and untangle the fortunes and felonies in this complicated case of political and familial rivalries. But her real challenge is to put aside her feelings and serve justice for the murder of an unjust man.

Editorial Reviews

When she accompanies her prioress on a mercy visit to a nunnery, Dame Frevisse becomes entangled in an inheritance dispute, a family feud, and the aftermath of a brutal murder in this new addition to Margaret Frazer's medieval mystery series.
Publishers Weekly
Edgar-nominee Frazer delivers another well-wrought tale of intrigue and murder in her 11th novel (after 2001's The Squire's Tale) to feature nun and amateur sleuth Dame Frevisse. Here our heroine travels with the prioress of St. Frideswide's priory to the town of Goring, where on arrival they learn that Master Montfort has been murdered in the cloister garden of St. Mary's. (The jacket art nicely depicts the scene of the crime.) Montfort's son asks for Frevisse's aid in finding the murderer, which proves no easy task. Montfort, escheater assigned to settle a dispute over the inheritance of certain properties, wasn't liked by anyone, including his wife and clerk. Delving into the relationships of those connected to the victim and those involved in the inheritance dispute, Frevisse uncovers a complex case. Another death brings all the suspects together for a dramatic and surprising conclusion. As usual, Frazer vividly recreates the medieval world through meticulous attention to historical detail. From spectacles to wimples, to the kidney dagger that killed Montfort and the Goring river ferry now replaced by a bridge, she exhibits remarkable scholarship. The story, like others in the series, alternates between the points-of-view of Frevisse and the title character, here Master John Gruesby, the mild-mannered clerk whose security rests in his ink pots and papers. While some may find the evolution of the plot slow, history aficionados will delight in every page and committed fans will rejoice that the devout yet human Dame Frevisse is back. (Jan. 8) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The January spring of 1446 finds Dame Frevisse (The Squire's Tale, 2000, etc.) and her prioress off on an errand of mercy that disintegrates into a murder case muddier than the road to Goring. Apparently Frevisse's longtime nemesis Morys Montfort, now corrupt escheator for the king, got fatally overinvested in his duties settling an inheritance fight. But why would he have been stabbed in a nunnery's infirmary garden, a place for healing women? When Frevisse arrives on the heels of Montfort's relieved family, she is housed across the street from St. Mary Priory with feisty widow Lady Agnes, party to the wrangle over her grandson Stephen's legal rights. Not only is Stephen's legitimacy at issue; his affections are torn between his child bride Nichola, presented as part of a land package, and his paramour Juliana, a lusty young widow who should be supporting her mother on the other side of the property battle. Montfort's clerk, Master John Gruesby, comfortable only when he's invisible, now alone knows the secret of Stephen's birth, but still can't bring himself to act. So nothing in this tangled case comes clear until a second bloody death.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sister Frevisse Medieval Mystery Series , #11
Sold by:
Penguin Group
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File size:
331 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Margaret Frazer was a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best Original Paperback for both The Servant's Tale and The Prioress' Tale.

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Clerk's Tale (Sister Frevisse Medieval Mystery Series #11) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
It is a comparative mild January day in 1446 England. However, Dame Frevisse has a mixed blessing about the weather, as she must leave her home in the St. Frideswide¿s Priory. Travel is awful because the roads are muddy and slick. She and her prioress, Sister Domina Elisabeth are going to see her dying cousin at St. Mary¿s Priory.

Once they arrive, they find no room for them even though they were expected. A murder has been committed and people are gathering for the inquest. They find out the victim is her old nemeses Morys Montfort who had come to Goring to settle an inheritance dispute. Although Frevisse never liked the victim, she felt it was up to God to bring him to justice not man. When Morys' son asks Frevisse to investigate she feels she has no choice but to agree. As she learns more about the inheritance dispute she becomes convinced that one of the many parties involved is the killer. The only problem is how to prove who it is.

Margaret Frazer is in top form as she write the eighth installment in the ¿Dame Frevisse Medieval Mystery¿ series. The heroine, who has chosen her true calling, feels closer to God than anyone and the audience responds to her goodness and purity of soul. THE CLERK¿S TALE is an excellent work for fans of historical mysteries as the tale is thoroughly researched and totally believable.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diane Trim More than 1 year ago
I suspected nearly everyone of the first crime and was pleased with the ending. On the way, the interesting characters kept me entertained and subtly educated about life and culture in the middle ages. I'm working my way through the Frevisse books and this is the best one I've read so far. It's the first one of the Dame Frevisse novels that compares favorably to the solid writing and plot structure of Margaret Frazer's Joliffe the Player series. Unfortunately, the two Edgar-nominated books (The Servant's Tale and The Novice's Tale) are unavailable for the Nook at the time of this posting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago