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The Novice's Tale

by Margaret Frazer, Mary Monica Pulver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sister Frevisse Mysteries (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5671435,023 (3.63)38
It is the year of Our Lord's grace 1431, and the nuns of England's St. Frideswide sweetly chant their Paternosters behind gracious, trellised walls. But their quiet lives are shattered by the unwelcome visit of the hard-drinking, blaspheming dowager Lady Ermentrude, with her retinue of lusty maids and men, baying hounds, and even a pet monkey in tow. The lady demands wine, a feast, and her niece, the frail and saintly novice Thomasine. What she gets is her own strange and sudden death. Sister Frevisse, hosteler of the priory and amateur sleuth, fears murder. The most likely suspect is pious Thomasine . . . but Frevisse alone detects a clever web spun to entangle an innocent nun in the most unholy of passions--and the deadliest of deeds.… (more)
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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I love this series. Sister Frevisse, the protagonist, is a nun in a small convent in medieval England. She loves the religious life and it is central to her identity. She is also unusually educated, and related to some powerful people, which is how she gets involved in intrigue and mystery.

The rhythm of the Divine Office (the Liturgy of the Hours) governs her days when she is at home in the convent, and to a lesser extent when she is out visiting. Because she is educated, she understands the Latin in which the psalms are sung, and we get both the Latin and the English as she reflects on her prayers. ( )
  VictoriaGaile | Oct 16, 2021 |
So, why do we read mysteries? What is it we want from them? Whatever it is that I want: this one fit the bill. I look forward to reading the second one.
( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 18, 2020 |
The year is 1431 and the nuns of St. Frideside get an unwelcome visit from a rude, unpleasant woman, Lady Ermentrude. The novice, Thomasine, is close to taking her holy orders, something she has always wanted. She is related to Lady Ermentrude who brings a lot of people, dogs and a monkey. During her visit, she suddenly leaves to go to Thomasine's sister Lady Isobel and her husband Lord John. Ermentrude leaves in a temper and apparently went to Isobel and John in a temper and had a big fight with them. She seems very drunk when she returns and insists that Thomasine will leave and marry. Then while taking care of Ermentrude who collapses, one of the cooks eats and drinks what was for Ermentrude and dies badly. Ermentrude seems to recover and then collapses and dies. Her son wants the easy answer and blames Thomasine. It is up to Dame Frevisse to find the truth. Frevisse is related to Thomas Chaucer, a relationship that helps her when the son is ready to grab her up and hold her prisoner. I like this series.
  taurus27 | Sep 29, 2017 |
Took awhile to finish, but once I had the time to sit and read t went fast and was interesting enough. Loved the setting of 1431 England. ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
The first in the extensive 'Sister Frevisse' medieval mystery series.
Although it is definitely more a formula mystery than an historical
novel, I didn't find it to be aggravatingly ahistorical.
Set in 15th century England, the convent of St. Fridewide's is home to
Sister Frevisse, a devout but eminently practical nun. It's also home
to Thomasine, a young novice whose piousness goes far beyond the
ordinary. Thomasine is deathly afraid that her loud and obnoxious Aunt
Ermentrude will somehow drag her out of the convent to be married
before she can take her final vows. So when Lady Ermentrude turns up
dead, suspicion naturally falls on Thomasine - shy as she may be, she
definitely had a motive. And the official in charge of investigating
the crime seems loath to look any further than the quickest and easiest
suspect to hang the crime on (and hang). But Sister Frevisse has a
feeling that Thomasine is innocent - and it looks like it will fall to
her to try to find the actual murderer.
A fun and entertaining read. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Frazerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pulver, Mary Monicamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Fournier, ChristianTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grube, AnkeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Help us, Seinte Frideswyde!
A man woot litel what him shal bityde.
- Geoffrey Chaucer
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Mid-September in the year of Our Lord's grace 1431 had perfect weather, warm and dry.
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It is the year of Our Lord's grace 1431, and the nuns of England's St. Frideswide sweetly chant their Paternosters behind gracious, trellised walls. But their quiet lives are shattered by the unwelcome visit of the hard-drinking, blaspheming dowager Lady Ermentrude, with her retinue of lusty maids and men, baying hounds, and even a pet monkey in tow. The lady demands wine, a feast, and her niece, the frail and saintly novice Thomasine. What she gets is her own strange and sudden death. Sister Frevisse, hosteler of the priory and amateur sleuth, fears murder. The most likely suspect is pious Thomasine . . . but Frevisse alone detects a clever web spun to entangle an innocent nun in the most unholy of passions--and the deadliest of deeds.

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