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A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters

A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)

by Ellis Peters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brother Cadfael (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,065812,838 (3.81)233
On an expedition to acquire a saint's remains, Brother Cadfael instead finds intrigue and murder It is 1137, and the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey wishes to acquire the remains of Saint Winifred for the glory of his Benedictine order. Brother Cadfael is part of the expedition sent to the saint's final resting place in Wales, where he finds the villagers divided over the Benedictines' quest. When the leading opponent to moving the grave is shot dead with a mysterious arrow, some believe Winifred herself delivered the blow. Brother Cadfael knows that an earthly hand did the killing. But he doesn't know that his plan to root out a murderer may dig up a case of love and justice, where the waves of sin may be scandal-or his own ruin.… (more)
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» See also 233 mentions

English (72)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
A morbid taste for bones, the first chronicle of Brother Cadfael at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury, gives us our initial glimpse of the monk who came to the monastery in late life after first being a crusader in the Holy Land. Prior Robert has decided that the Abbey needs relics of a saint - Wales has the bones of Saint Winifred which he feels they have ignored. So off he goes with a band of brothers to retrieve the saint and bring her to Shrewsbury. Cadfael, being Welsh and speaking the language accompanies the group. Of course Winifred is not the only dead body they encounter in this endeavor!

All in all, a fine introduction to Ellis Peters' medieval detective. ( )
  fdholt | Jun 13, 2019 |
Morbid Taste for Bones is the first book in the Cadfael Chronicles. In a nutshell: Prior Robert is looking a saint for his abbey. The abbey is in dire need of some reputable relics and not finding anything within his region Prior Robert has the idea to branch out to Wales. He has heard of a saint buried in Gwytherin where her ghost claimed in a dream mistreatment and neglect of her grave. She requests a burial elsewhere. Of course there is drama when Robert and a crew of support show up to exhume her. Words are exchanged but because of the late hour both parties agree to take up the argument the next day. The new day brings a fresh murder. Only Cadfael recognizes the death for what is truly was, a framing of an innocent man. This always happens when there is a love triangle. Read the book for more...
  SeriousGrace | May 21, 2019 |
I chose this book because it is the first of the series. My fellow listener and I are already familiar with the Brother Cadfael character, having watched the TV series with Derek Jacobi playing the leading role, decades ago. We have also been to Shrewsbury on one of our trips to the UK.

These novels are a lovely reminder of a historical period which was a turbulent time at the end of the Middle Ages. Brother Cadfael lives in Shrewsbury, returned from the Crusades, and now a monk and a herbalist. In some senses his mysteries are very ordinary investigations, but they are imbued with a strong sense of history, and sometimes with a touch of romance.

In this story Brother Cadfael is part of an expedition to his native Wales to "liberate" St Winifred's bones which apparently have been neglected by the people who live in the village near where she is buried. The locals are understandably upset at the incoming Englishmen who have come to steal the bones and take them back to England.

The first in quite a long series of books, there is a lot of introductory material about Cadfael, his background, and those who live with him in the Shrewsbury monastery.

At just over 7 hours this is a good title to be listened to over a couple of travelling weeks. ( )
  smik | Oct 27, 2018 |
I have always loved the Cadfael mysteries. This is the first book in the series and finds brother Cadfael reluctantly serving as an interpreter on his abbey's expedition to recover the bones of a welsh saint. The locals aren't keen on the idea of handing their saint over and things soon take a turn for the worse.

Each novel in the series contains a mystery that stands by itself, and they are all good. The author brings the medieval world to life and creates a wonderful and very human cast of characters whose stories we can follow from book to book. It is hard not to fall in love with Cadfael. And it is hard not to admire the talented and prolific Ellis Peters. ( )
  AndrewGaddes | Sep 17, 2018 |
not as polished as later Brother Cadfael mysteries; some annoying anachronisms (especially minutes); very entertaining; liked the ending - was the supernatural at work or no?; definitely want to read more Brother Cadfael
  FKarr | Jun 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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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