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
It’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.