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Publisher's Summary

In 12th century London, Magdalene la Bâtarde is the madam of the Old Priory Guesthouse in Southwark. She is not in the least bit sorry to learn that Bertrild, the unpleasant wife of Master Mainard, is dead. Bertrild was insulting to most people. She made threats, using terrible revelations as a weapon against those who would not bow down to her demanding ways. However, when it seems that Mainard will be charged with Bertrild's murder, because no one accepts the oath of a whore that he is innocent, Magdalene, with her handsome friend, Sir Bellamy, decides to investigate.
©1999 Roberta Gellis; (P)2005 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"In addition to a well-crafted plot, moments of heart-stopping suspense, and a dramatic conclusion, the author provides poignant glimpses into the humanity of her characters, particularly the women of the guesthouse." (Publishers Weekly)
"Yet another authentically detailed medieval mystery featuring a proactive feminist as the detective." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Anonymous User on 12-31-07

A life medieval

The Gellis' books have brought to life the many details of a 12th century life that are often overlooked by the academic accounts. And again, she brings to life the people who make life in King Stephen's reign seem real and believable. This tale, however, is the weakest of the three about Madeleine and her knight Sir Belamy. Although the resolution of the mystery is a stretch, it does not dilute the rich flow of the tapestry formed by the complex relationships that were part of human life then, and even now.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Mysticalsister on 10-12-09

Wonderful Period Who Dunnit!

If you like historical mysteries, this one is a delight. The premise is unique, and the characters are so well written that I find myself thinking about them long after the book is done. (I have a total crush on Bell.) There are 3 of the series available here, but the 4th is out -- "Chains of Folly." Once you finish the last book, do what I did, and write to Audible and ask for the 4th. (Roberta Gellis is writing the 5th, "Bishop to King, Check!" even as I write this. By the way -- Nadia May is brilliant! Her various characters voices linger in my mind even now. Great Book!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Mary Carnegie on 09-01-17

Too much information

I didn't want to hear so much about sexual activity in brothels. Émile Zola managed to portray all the vices of Second Empire Paris without the detail in "Nana"!
The author's final explanation of her view of this period of history is biased and dumbed down. I wish she hadn't "dissed" David I (and thereby Scotland, my country) in a throwaway line, which amply demonstrates her crude appreciation of history.
The plot is convoluted and contrived. I'm still not sure I know "whodunnit", after listening twice.
Perhaps the hook that induced me to persevere with another book was my curiosity about the "back stories" of main characters- did the ridiculously named madam murder her husband, her lover, or both? Why did the vindictive wife, bumped off early on, to nobody's regret, marry a man she has always despised? (The seeds of that particular mystery were sewn in book one.)

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By Jennifer Chennell on 03-28-17

great book

I really have enjoyed both these books . My only criticism is that there are so many characters that at times it got a little confusing but over all a good story well narrated. Fans of Candace Robb and Peter Elliot should enjoy these.

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Customer Reviews

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By Paul McMahon on 05-25-16

It is what it is

This outing of the series is a bit slow to start and left me somewhat disinterested. But I persevered and in the end was glad I did. It is of the "Cozy mysteries" style, and as such is a pleasant listen.

Good enough that I'll look at the next book, but not so pressing that I'll look it up immediately.

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