Death Before Complineby Sharan Newman
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Sharan Newman's reputation as a critically acclaimed writer of medieval mysteries continues with this collection of short stories, all previously published and collected here for the first time in DEATH BEFORE COMPLINE. The stories take us into 12th century Europe and show with sympathy and humor, the astounding variety of good intentions gone wrong and the corruption of human desires. Many of the stories feature Catherine LeVendeur, the beloved protagonist of ten of Newman's novels, and Solomon, Catherine's Jewish merchant cousin. These stories takes us into the day to day reality of medieval religious and family life, as it is lived by a variety of people: from nuns, noble people, scholars, courtiers, merchants, hermetic spinsters and children.
Fans of the novels will find this collection delightful as the author explains the origins of these stories and the evolution of her protagonists in the novels; these tales also serve as a great introduction to her work for newcomers.
Praise for Sharan Newman:
"Newman's got a lock on 12th century France . . . No one does a better job than Newman of creating a historical environment that is dense and richly textured without ever forgetting the importance of the individual and his or her story. " ~CONTRA COSTA TIMES
"Be forewarned – Sharan Newman will change the way you think about the Middle Ages. Her Catherine LeVendeur series brings the twelfth century to life with compassion, intelligence and wit, in tales rich with detail and unforgettable characters. Newman delivers an outstanding mystery in each and every book. This series is not to be missed!" ~Jan Burke, author of DEAR IRENE
"Imagine 12th century France, complete with crowded taverns and drafty convents. Fill with lusty students, educated merchants and starving beggars. Add long-buried family secrets and sparkling romance. Top with stolen gems, a wandering relic and too many corpses. The result? The wonderfully rich "Catherine LeVendeur" mystery series by Sharan Newman." ~VENTURA COUNTY STAR
"Sharan Newman's medieval mysteries use scholarship, subtlety and humor to investigate the universal labyrinth of murder and morality, heart and soul. Her fresh, provocative view of women's roles in the medieval milieu offers a background as richly detailed as fine stained glass." ~Carole Nelson Douglas, author of the IRENE ADLER series
"Newman has an excellent narrative sense, and all of her characters are depicted vividly and come to life on the page." ~MYSTERY NEWS
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Meet the Author
Sharan Newman is the author of fourteen novels including the award winning works, DEATH COMES AS EPIPHANY, CURSED IN THE BLOOD and THE WITCH IN THE WELL as well as three works of non-fiction on the Da Vinci Code, the Templars and the end of the world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Death Before Compline is a collection of short stories that go along with the full length novels Sharan Newman wrote over the years. A 12th century girl Catherine Levendeur makes up most of the short stories. She is a 12th century Nancy Drew, always running into some kind of trouble, always a murder she is determined to solve. Catherine is a fun witty character to read about. I thoroughly enjoyed Sharan Newman's writing and attention to detail. You could really imagine yourself in the 12th century. I have to admit as much I enjoyed Catherine, I fell in love with Solomon's stories which took up the last two short stories. He is extremely likable and smart. I'm now intrigued to read all of Sharan Newman's novels and get to know these characters even better. This is the first book published by Bagwyn books and if this is any indication of what they will be offering, I'm eagerly awaiting the other books they publish.
You might just barely be better off reading this in a printed version; the e-book version I received had numerous annoying and distracting editing lapses: switched personal pronouns, messed-up punctuation, extraneous quotation marks. The stories were good, at least the first two; that's how far I'm into the book. Sharan Newman has a lot of charm, and stories of this period need that extra something to keep an average reader such as I am involved. There are copious annotations and introductions to the entire book, and to each story that could have been abbreviated for an e-book. E-book editing has not, in my opinion, matured into an established profession. It appears that publishers are determined to spend less money on e-books than they spend on printed books, since e-books are less expensive, and are possibly perceived to be less "permanent", and lapses in poor editing less obvious. In fact editing lapses in E-books are actually more visible, since the text is often re-paginated by the software, making mistakes more obvious.