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The early books (at least chronicles 1-5) in the Brother Cadfael series are a must for anyone who enjoys historical murder mysteries. Indeed, Ellis Peters pioneered the genre, now littered with many such series covering almost all periods of history and just about every continent (no Antarctic sleuths yet, that I know of).
I think Monk's Hood, the "third chronicle," is the book in which this series really hit its stride. The mystery itself is sound and has a unique resolution that may sadden some. The revelations from Cadfael's past expand the hero's character, and the "monastic politics," as exemplified by Prior Robert and his lackey Brother Jerome, lend spice to the action.
I decided to try the Patrick Tull narration for this one. I've listened to a couple of the books read by Stephen Thorne, who I find to be competent but dull, and one by Derick Jacobi, whose voice for some reason seems wrong (it's probably me, I'm afraid Sir Derick will never be anyone but Emperor Claudius to me). I wavered between finding Tull's delivery painfully slow (his renditions of any book are always much longer than other readers' presentations of the same material) and thinking it eminently suitable to the setting and character of the story. I'll have to give Johanna Ward a try next.
I'm not sure whether the number of "Caedfaelic" narrators available to choose from is a testament to the enduring popularity of this series or to liberal copyright availability; probably a bit of both, and it's nice to have the variety.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
In Monk's Hood, someone is poisoned by the misuse of one of Brother Cadfael???s preparations, so our medieval detective is well-motivated to find out who. Cadfael is a bit handicapped by not having Hugh Beringar in charge of the investigation, by Prior Robert being in charge of the abbey in the abbot's absence, and we get to enjoy the fun, including listening to one of Brother Jerome???s smarmiest, most unctuous little speeches, this time directed toward Cadfael. Personally, I wanted to go kick the weaselly Jerome (and I apologize to the four-footed furbearing animal!) right in the butt. Differences between English and Welsh law and customs are a significant part of the story.
I had forgotten how good the story is, and Patrick Tull has now become my favorite narrator of the Cadfael chronicles.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful