In November 1382, the month of the dead, Abbess Hildegard rides out for York from the Abbey of Meaux. This is no ordinary journey—it is a time of rival popes, a boy king, and a shaky peace in the savage aftermath of Wat Tyler's murder—and Hildegard has embarked on a perilous mission to try to secure the future of her priory.
Traveling alone, she discovers danger, encountering first a gibbet with five bloodied corpses and then the body of a youth, brutally butchered. Who was the boy, how was he connected to the men hanging from the gibbet, and what do these gruesome deaths mean? Hildegard is determined to uncover the truth, no matter how terrible it may be. When even her childhood home, Castle Hutton, turns out not to be a safe haven from murder, Hildegard realizes she will have to summon all of her courage and wisdom to counter the dark forces that threaten her friends and family as well as her country.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Series:||Abbess Hildegard of Meaux Series , #1|
|File size:||599 KB|
About the Author
CASSANDRA CLARK spent her childhood in Yorkshire, which served as an inspiration for Hangman Blind, her first novel. She lives in London.
Cassandra Clark lives in London. She is the author of the acclaimed series featuring Abbess Hildegard, including A Parliament of Spies, The Law of Angels, The Velvet Turnshoe, and Hangman Blind. Her childhood spent in Yorkshire was her inspiration for the series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark is the first in a new medieval mystery series starring nun Sister Hildegard. Hildegard was widowed when her husband died in battle leaving her control of their great fortune. With her children grown and gone, she enters the Cistercian order with the intention of creating a place where like minded women can offer education and care for the poor of the area. In the guise of seeking a grange she could use for this purpose, she is sent on a covert mission by the Mother Superior to seek information about the political ties of the Abbey of Meaux. With rival popes, an unsteady throne, and a recent revolt among the peasantry, political machinations are running high. But Hildegard stumbles instead into the attempted murder of her childhood friend, Lord Roger de Hutton. He begs her to allow everyone to think he is dead so she can discover his assassin, and there's more to this poisoning than meets the eye. First, I love Sister Hildegard. She makes a terrific protagonist: smart, funny, with friends in unexpected places. She genuinely cares for those around her and takes the time to carefully observe the world. I'm a huge fan of mysteries, and Clark creates just the right amount that the reader can solve while throwing in some completely unexpected surprises. There are a wide variety of secondary characters, all of them sublime. There are so many subplots floating around in this novel, Clark has no excuse for not writing several sequels, and I sincerely hope she gets on it!
In 1382 wealthy widow and now a Cistercian Sister Hildegard returns to her hometown of East Riding, Yorkshire where she plans to set up an abbey to aid the impoverished, sick and injured following last year¿s deadly Peasant Revolt. To achieve her objective, she will need the help of her long time friend, local magistrate Lord Roger de Hutton.
However upon arrival at Hutton Castle, she learns her friend has been poisoned. Sister Hildegard investigates only to find Lord Roger made many enemies within his castle household and with Yorkshire rivals seeking to improve their position. However, none seem to go as far as murder although many had the means and opportunity.
Mindful of Margaret Frazer¿s Sister Frevisse fifteenth century mysteries, the first Sister Hildegard¿s fourteenth century tale is an excellent medieval whodunit that brings to life a fragile England still reeling from the revolt of 1381 and the growing tension of what looks like a civil war in the near future. Following the preliminary introduction to time, place and lead character, the story line shifts into first gear as the nun learns of Roger¿s fate and never decelerates as everyone acts suspiciously around the heroine. Readers will appreciate this strong opening act as the history is vivid and the investigation exciting and entertaining.