Forgotten Book: The Leper of St. Giles by Ellis Peters

this is the 222nd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

The Leper of Saint Giles by Ellis Peters, © 1981, Mysterious Press paperback 1995, mystery – 5th Brother Cadfael

Leper of St GilesIt’s 1139 in Shrewsbury. Brother Cadfael is visiting the leper colony at Saint Giles when the two wedding parties pass; first that of Huon De Domville, the prospective groom, a fleshy man in his late fifties, then that of Iveta Mansard, 17 year old niece of Sir Godfred and Agnes Picard.

The May-December wedding is a grand event, though the cold, harsh treatment of Iveta by her prospective husband and her greedy aunt and uncle, cast a pall on what should be a joyous event. To complicate matters, there is the squire of the groom, who is in love with Iveta.

There quickly follow a discovered tryst, a sacking, a theft, an escape from arrest and a manhunt. Then a murder. Cadfael’s keen powers of observation and his understanding of human nature help him see through the obvious – though incorrect – solution to find the truth.

I’m particularly fond of the Cadfael books, and this is a good one. I enjoyed it more than the previous book in the series, St. Peter’s Fair. The characters and setting had more depth and really came alive for me. It’s possible this was because I’d just read the previous book and so was in tune with the setting. Regardless, one of the better books in a very, very good series. I’ve “saved” just the last two of the Cadfael books, and perhaps it’s time to take one of them off the shelf and enjoy that treat.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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19 Responses to Forgotten Book: The Leper of St. Giles by Ellis Peters

  1. Todd Mason says:

    And I *still* need to read “Peters”…

  2. My mum was a big fan and I managed to get the lady to sign some copies for her back in the 90s I think – been ages since I read one actually, thanks Richard I should dig them out of the attic.

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading Cadfael books over a couple decades. I enjoyed the TV series, too. I remember reading the last volumes of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series with sadness knowing that I was at the end of the series.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I only read a few of the earliest ones – and that was over 20 years ago – but not this, though I do remember the television version (vaguely). We went to Shrewsbury and they had several bookstores at the time, which naturally featured her books. I was able to pick up a number of her paperbacks as both Peters and (her real name) Edith Pargeter for resale.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    They were. Shrewsbury was an interesting place. Parts of the town look right out of the Cadfael books (at least the television adaptations) – the walls, the river, the bridge. It is pretty close to Wales too. It is amazingly different from spending time in London, which is more and more like New York with a British accent.

  6. I’ve got a couple of his books around but still have yet to read one. Gonna have to make the effort.

  7. John says:

    I read one, maybe two, ages ago (can’t remember which ones… VIRGIN IN THE ICE, maybe? MORBID TASTE FOR BONES?) but I preferred watching Derek Jacobi on TV. He sure brought the character to life.

    • John, Morbid Taste For Bones is, I think, the first in the series. Virgin in the Ice is my favorite. Funny, because I had read a couple before I saw the TV adaptation, I had a different picture of Cadfael, and didn’t like Jacoby’s version.

  8. tracybham says:

    I have read the first book in the Inspector Felse series, but I have never read any of the Cadfael books. I have at least the first three on my TBR.

  9. New to me, Richard. This series sounds like a good and absorbing historical fiction series.

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