MYSTERY

Murder at Whitby Abbey

Severn House. (Hildegard of Meaux Medieval Mystery, Bk. 10). Oct. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9780727889539. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781448302369. M
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In 1389, nun Hildegard of Meaux is sent to Whitby Abbey in northern England. As penance for her sins, she must barter with the Benedictine monks for a relic, a 700-year-old lock of hair of Abbess Hild of Whitby. Her companions on the winter journey are two monks and a young priest. When they arrive at Whitby, Hildegard discovers they are not the only ones interested in the relic. While waiting to view it and offer a price, the four travelers are caught up in the murder of a young monk. Their investigation uncovers secrets of the abbey, its tensions with the town, and the issues of taxes and land, and then another man is murdered. Before she and her companions return home, Hildegard will uncover the truth behind the killings and the connection to the abbey.
VERDICT Although set centuries apart, Clark’s tenth medieval mystery (following Murder at Meaux) and Cora Harrison’s 1920s-set “Reverend Mother” series share similarly rich details of religious and political life. Readers who favor the political tensions and historical aspects of Ellis Peters’s “Brother Cadfael” mysteries will further appreciate this leisurely paced story.

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