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The apothecary rose : a medieval mystery by…

The apothecary rose : a medieval mystery (original 1993; edition 1994)

by Candace Robb

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5021720,300 (3.66)17
Title:The apothecary rose : a medieval mystery
Authors:Candace Robb
Info:London : Heinemann, 1994.
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, library, pa, read, historical, april, 2009, romance, mystery, medieval, vb, gr

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The Apothecary Rose by Candace Robb (1993)

  1. 20
    A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (avalon_today)
    avalon_today: there is a lot going on in those Abbey's

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The Apothecary Rose is the first book in the Owen Archer series by Candace M. Robb. It takes place in York, England in the Mid 14th Century. I really enjoyed this book They are good mysteries and they really bring the past back to life. Owen was a good dependable man, and he made his own way in life. The second book should be just as good, but I suspect it will be quite a bit different because of the ending of this one!

Owen Archer, a Welshman had made his way up to Captain of Archers. But a kindness cost him an eye. While he was still a reasonable shot as an archer and his men would still follow him eagerly into battle, he felt it was the end of his military career. His master the Duke of Lancaster, disappointed not able to keep him as the Captain of Archers, convinced him to be trained as his spy. This included training in reading and writing and a host of other useful tasks.

After his training but before he was really challenged with his new duties, the Duke dies. Before he died, he asked the Lord Chancellor to look out for Owen. The Lord Chancellor had a ward who met an abrupt end. He asks Owen to look into it for him and find out what actually happened, since the boy was a bit of a cad, and might have created an enemy willing to murder.

Owen gets a post as an apprentice to an apothecary as his cover for the investigation. The post puts him with Lucie and Wilton. Lucie is Wilton’s wife and he just had a stroke which has kept him bedridden. Lucie was his apprentice closing in on becoming a Journeyman. She needs help but the guild couldn't find anyone will to apprentice their son to another apprentice and a woman at that. But Lucie has mixed feelings about accepting Owen, partly because he seems to see more than he should, even with just one eye, and Lucie knows some secrets that she can’t bare to see the light of day, The two also seem to be attracted to each other, even though Lucie is still married and both are trying to respect that relationship.

Two people die similar mysterious deaths, a third has fallen invalid. When Owen arrives more trouble comes up and the local Archdeacon had an instant dislike for for Owen and tries to get him out of the way. ( )
  readafew | Oct 19, 2015 |
I will start by noting that I have a weakness for series type books. I enjoy getting to know a character or characters and then following them along in their lives. When presented with the opportunity to review this series it was actually pretty cool because I didn’t have to wait for the next volume to come out – I was going to have almost all of the books at once to read over a two month period. (One of the books is not being re-released. I’m going to try and find it so I can complete the set.)

This is the first book so it introduces the reader to all of the players including our hero – Owen Archer. He’s a spy in the 14th century; an ex-warrior with a real knowledge of herbal healing. An unusual skill set for a man of the time, eh? This book is mostly setting up characters to create the world for the books to come. There is a mystery – of course – but the who isn’t as much a focus as the why which makes this a more interesting read in a way.

The characters are well developed and diverse. The historical details are well integrated into the story without being intrusive. I felt like I was part of the story and I love that in a book. When an author can make you feel like are in another century and part of a totally different world it leaves you with the desire to keep reading. I’m looking forward to the second book in the series. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Oct 9, 2015 |
I found The Apothecary Rose interesting to read since it I'm not that used to read historical mystery books that take place in the 14th century. This mystery was especially interesting since it involves the church. John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York sends out one-eyed spy Owen Archer to find out if the two suspicious death at the infirmary of St. Mary's Abbeys are murders and if so who's behind it. Could it be the Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton or his wife? Or someone that works at St. Mary's Abbeys? Owen Archer takes a job at the Wilton's apothecary in a way to learn more, but the soon finds himself both in danger and in love.

It was a good book, but there were two things that just didn't work for me. First, the love thing, I was just not that interested in reading about Owen falling in love with Lucie, Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton wife. I would have preferred a slower approach to their growing fondness for each other, instead of dreaming about each other, and thinking about each other, looking longing at each other. Perhaps something growing more over time than during a book. I just didn't find that interesting and every scene that in any way was about their feeling just made me mentally sigh and hope the story would return to the crime instead. Sometimes love stories work for me in historical fiction/mystery and sometimes they don't. This time, it didn't.

The second thing was that it took forever to get somewhere in the book, at last it felt like that. It just didn't happen that much in the middle of the book after the interesting beginning and frankly I was not that surprising to learn who the culprit was. But I found the last part of the book interesting when everything started to come together and the truth about the deaths were revealed.

I would like to read more books in this series. Owen Archer was an interesting character and I enjoyed reading about crimes in the 14th century.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a blog tour at TLC Book Tours. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Oct 8, 2015 |
Candace Robb is very nice person and very serious about her research though somehow I do not become deeply immersed in her mysteries. ( )
  antiquary | Jul 4, 2013 |
THE APOTHECARY ROSE is the first instalment in Candace Robb's series featuring the exploits of Owen Archer spy-sleuth. It is somewhat comparable to Ellis Peters Cadfael series, as both heroes are Welsh, and ex-warriors with knowledge of herbal healing. Both series take place in the Middle Ages, though Cadfael lived in the mid 1100s and Archer in the mid 1300s.
Robb's obsession with medieval England shows through with great clarity. Everything is described with such detail that it's entirely possible to lose oneself in the story. The story is enticing, as well as the characters. A multitude of characters captivate the imagination. Each has believable traits, as well as flaws: Owen's self-doubts, Lucie's stubbornness, Anselm's obsession.
There is a mystery - but not centred on who-done-it, because that's pretty easy to figure out. The mystery revolves around the "why", which can be just as enjoyable as guessing the "who".
Owen Archer is an enthralling sleuth. The combination of medieval York and murder mystery was wonderfully done. I enjoyed it immensely. ( )
  Jawin | Jul 5, 2011 |
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To Gen, who first got me to England;

to Jacqui, the apothecary; and

to Charlie, who always makes it so.
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Brother Wulfstan checked the color of his patient's eyes, tasted his sweat.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312953607, Mass Market Paperback)

Once the king's captain of archers, now he must penetrate a poisoner's secrets...

Christmastide, 1363-and, at an abbey in York, two pilgrims die mysteriously dead of an herbal remedy. Suspicious, the Archbishop sends for Owen Archer, a Welshman with the charm of the devil, who's lost one eye to the wars in France and must make a new career as an honest spy.

Masquerading as an apprentice to Apothecary Nicholas Wilton, whose shop dispensed the fatal potion, Owen's dark curls, leather eyepatch and gold earring intrigue Wilton's wife. But is this lovely woman a murderess? and what links the Wiltons to bumbling Brother Wulfstan, ascetic Archdeacon Anselm and his weaselly agent Potter Digby, and the ragged midwife Magda the Riverwoman? Answers as slippery as the frozen cobblestones draw Owen into a dangerous drama of old scandals and tragedies, obsession and unholy love...

The Apothecary Rose marks the arrival of a bold and quick-witted detective in this expertly detailed, engrossing tale of medieval life-and death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In 1363 York, people are dying from herbal remedies given out by Master Apothecary Wilton. Sent in disguise to solve the mystery, Owen Archer slowly uncovers the truth.

(summary from another edition)

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