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A Morbid Taste for Bones: The First…

A Morbid Taste for Bones: The First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael (1977)

by Ellis Peters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brother Cadfael (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,764712,118 (3.81)181
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    ahef1963: More monks, more deaths.

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» See also 181 mentions

English (64)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (71)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Brother Cadfael is a former crusader who has come to the priesthood late in life. Though his monastery is in England, Cadfael is a Welshman.

The monastery's abbot, Prior Robert, decides the monastery needs a reliquary. His target is a saint buried in a small Welsh village. A group of monks begin the journey to acquire the saint's bones with Cadfael going along as interpreter. Not surprisingly, the villagers are opposed to the saint's bones
being removed to England. When the leader of the opposition is found murdered, Cadfael, knowing the monks are responsible for the death, commits himself to solving the mystery.

The mystery is a good one and Cadfael is a very likeable character. ( )
  clue | Oct 7, 2017 |
Brother Cadfael cares more for his garden and his herbs than for the potential power of the monastic hierarchy. He watches with a tolerant but ironic eye as the ambitious Prior Robert seeks to gain worldly glory for Shrewsbury Abbey, spurred on by the desire to compete with other nearby monasteries. What Shrewsbury really needs is to attract more pilgrims, who will bring money and influence to the Abbey. How to get pilgrims? Why, they need a saint! It’s too bad that there is no native saint at the Abbey. Fortunately, Providence is on Robert’s side. His friend Brother Jerome is vouchsafed a vision, in which he is visited by the virgin saint Winifred. She is fed up of the indifference shown towards her bones by the people of Gwytherin, where she lies buried, and wishes to be translated to a more devout home. To prove her goodwill towards the Abbey, she has even cured the young would-be mystic, Brother Columbanus, of his falling fits. It is a sign! (A most convenient sign, notes Cadfael.) With the abbot’s permission, Robert gathers an entourage to set off into Wales to bring their new saint home...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2017/08/20/a-morbid-taste-for-bones-ellis-peters/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Aug 28, 2017 |
Read for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2, 2016 (historical fiction before 1900).

Things I learned: Poppies are powerful. Don't mess with them.

This is "the first chronicle of Brother Cadfael, of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, at Shrewsbury." As such, it offers an introduction to Brother Cadfael, and the other inhabitants of Shrewsbury Abbey.

Brother Cadfael goes on a mission with Prior Robert and some other brothers to obtain the relics of St. Winifred. This project is "inspired" by the visions of one Brother Columbanus, who is an interesting blend of the ethereal and worldly, in that he is ambitious, in addition to experiencing visions.

The characters that Brother Cadfael meets in the Welsh town of Gwytherin, where St. Winifred's bones lie, is interesting and engaging.

The plot seems confusing, but all comes right in the end, and it makes sense. ( )
  harrietbrown | Jun 24, 2017 |
A monk detective, and not the one with OC.

Enjoyed Brother Cadfael's clear-eyed thoughts on a less-than-perfect religious order. I like and approve of his brand of justice. Besides the mystery solved, it was satisfying to see that everyone, including Prior Robert and his scheming posse, got what they deserved. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
Having seen several of the tv series, and really liking them, I went into this series with a bit of trepidation.

This book more than met my expectations. Especially for a mystery. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellis Petersprimary authorall editionscalculated
健, 大出翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
エリス・ピー…secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christensen, JanOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Escott, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gehlin, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilles, NicolasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobi, Sir DerekSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janssens, PieterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karve, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menini, María AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Dianesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelitti, ElsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staercke-Lobry, MarijeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, JohannaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On the fine, bright morning in early May when the whole sensational affair of the Gwytherin relics may properly be considered to have begun, Brother Cadfael had been up long before Prime, pricking out cabbage seedlings before the day was aired, and his thoughts were all on birth, growth and fertility, not at all on graves and reliquaries and violent deaths, whether of saints, sinners or ordinary decent, fallible men like himself.
"God resolves all given time," said Cai philosophically and trudged away into the darkness. And Cadfael returned along the path with the uncomfortable feeling that God, nevertheless, required a little help from men, and what he mostly got was hindrance.
Great darkness and constant, feeble light, the slow flowing of time from far beyond his conception to far beyond his power to follow, the solitude about him and the troubled and peopled world within, all these settled into their perpetual pattern, a steady rhythm as perfect as sleep.
"Both men and women partake of the same human nature, Huw. We both bleed when we're wounded. That's a poor, silly woman, true, but we can show plenty of poor, silly men. There are women as strong as any of us, and as able."
He made a mistake, and there should be provision for everybody to make one fresh start.
Meet every man as you find him, for we're all made the same under habit or robe or rags.
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(from the back of the book) In the remote Welsh mountain village of Gwytherin lies the grave of Saint Winifred. Now, in 1137, the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey had decided to acquire the sacred remains for his Benedictine order. Native Welshman Brother Cadfael is sent on the expedition to translate and finds the rustic villagers of Gwytherin passionately divided by the Benedictine's offer for the saint's relics. Canny, wise, and all too worldly, he isn't surprised when this taste for bones leads to bloody murder.
The leading opponent to moving the grave has been shot dead with a mysterious arrow, and some say Winifred herself held the bow. Brother Cadfael knows a carnal hand did the killing. But he doesn't know that his plan to unearth a murderer may dig up a case of love and justice... where the wages of sin may be scandal or Cadfael's own ruin.
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In the 12th century Benedictine monastary of Shrewsbury, Brother Cadfael has settled down to a quiet life in charge of the herbarium after an adventurous, and far from monastic, youth. But when his piror determines to acquire the bones of a saint form a remote Welsh village, Cadfael's worldly experience becomes vitally important. It is fortunate indeed that his skills as a herbalist are matched by his prowess as a detective, since the obstacles to the expedition include murder.… (more)

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