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  • Paperback
  • 229 pages
  • The Novice's Tale
  • Margaret Frazer
  • English
  • 16 February 2018
  • 9780425143216

About the Author: Margaret Frazer

Mary Monica Pulver Kuhfeld and Gail Lynn Frazer writing in tandem for a series of historical medieval mysteries featuring Dame Frevisse After the sixth novel, the works are written by Gail Frazer alone, and the name has subsequently been used exclusively by her A second series of novels by Ms Frazer set in the same time and place feature the player minstrel Joliffe.See also



10 thoughts on “The Novice's Tale

  1. says:

    Quite different from Ellis Peters Cadfael series, even given the obvious parallels monastics medieval England , The Novice s Tale is a well done historical mystery with believable characters, motives, murderer etc Frazer brings the rhythms of monastic life into her stories than did Peters, which made it realistic for me, and I like that the emphasis in her Sister Frevisse stories is not on Frevisse herself but on the title characters.Excellent, easy reading summer book fare.

  2. says:

    Light, quick read I consider this the start of one of the better monastic mystery solvers Seems to be historically accurate.

  3. says:

    I enjoyed everyone, the special 1431 setting, and originality of The Novice s Tale The characters who greet us aren t surly nuns barking at the trainee They are loyal, designate places for conversing without rules, and marvel at the novice s piety By that magical last third of a book, where there can be no thought of stopping, I considered four stars A comment about motive two pages from the end, is flimsy I will give three stars, expecting the bar to raise easily on the succeeding novels There is a lot to praise.Plotting, investigation, and action were impressive and intelligently conceived Because I am the novice at old periods, a people s modernity always surprises me as if I equated anything before 1600 as cave dwelling I must grasp that pre electricity and pre plumbing times did comprise bright, organized, educated, fully developed societies People shine through best in historical fiction We always recognize feelings and concerns, if an author composes from feelings and concerns instead of the physical and visual If so, they not only have our ear but it feels like there is no separation from that period and us The construct of their abodes and rules are incidental.I am targeting numerous series introductions that have sat for years I prefer stories past their preliminaries, down to the nitty gritty of their worlds This campaign paves the way for better ones The strongest description herein reminds us nuns are not stereotypes but people They had been ready for frightened women It was easy to forget among the patterns of St Frideswide s that the nuns were the daughters, Granddaughters, sisters of men who held their inheritance by right of arms and battle skills Their daily life held little need for their inheritance of courage but their blood remembered. What an extraordinary scene My favourite

  4. says:

    If you like a mystery set in a historical fiction setting, this series is the one of you A few years ago, I ve read the Reeve s Tale And today, I ve read the Novice s Tale by the late Margaret Frazer, who perished a year ago In the Sister Frevisse Mystery series, we enter the world of Medieval England, when kings rule the world Sister Frevisse is a hosteler for the St Frideswide Convent When Novice Thomasine wants to become a nun, it isn t what it seems First her step aunt torments her and makes a racket in the nunnery Through Sister Frevisse s eyes, she witnessed everything in her church When two people wind up dead in the convent, one night after another, it s up to Frevisse and her nuns to find out what happened and what went wrong, when they ve piece together this twisted puzzle In fear of Thomasine being in danger of the real killer, it s a matter of question of picking a certain poison and why And the real culprit is a shocker of pure evil, and who would ve been next to join the dead.

  5. says:

    The coziest of cozies, since it s set in a cloistered convent, yet this book manages to touch on Chaucer, Henry VI, the laws of entail and of marriage It also introduces an unique detective, Dame Frevisse, the hosteler guest accommodator at the convent of St Frideswide s, who is good not because she is innocent of sin but because she knows herself I am looking forward to reading of this series.

  6. says:

    A neat, tidy little historical mystery I loved Sister Frevisse and Dame Claire and will definitely be reading of this series

  7. says:

    I read several of these books years ago, the ones available at the local library, anyway, and I remember enjoying them So when I found a couple recently at Gardner s a FABULOUS used book store in Tulsa not too far from my home , I picked them up.The stories are set at St Frideswide s, a medieval priory in Oxfordshire, in the 15th century There was a real St Fridewide s priory just a hundred years after this story, it was dissolved by King Henry VIII part of the church was destroyed and is now Tom Quad the priory church is now Christ Church in Oxford I ve been there A noblewoman named Lady Ermentrude, whose grandniece is a novice at the priory, comes to visit Lady Ermentrude is well known for her vigor, in spite of her advanced age of 69, and her unreasonable temper She suddenly leaves on horseback very soon after her arrival a mystery there and when she returns, she is raving that Thomasine, her niece, must leave the convent and be married But her raving isn t simple anger she is also seeing things that no one else sees, which are assumed to be demons come for milady s soul Screaming in agony and incoherent, she is put to bed and after being doctored by Dame Claire, an excellent herbalist, appears to be recovering.Then a servant keeping watch over her dies after eating some food and drinking wine meant for Lady Ermentrude soon after, Lady Ermentrude dies also The crowner arrives and wants to rule the deaths as accidental But the nuns, particularly the prioress, Domina Edith, Dame Frevisse, the hosteler, and the aforementioned Dame Claire, do not think it is so simple the symptoms indicate poison But when evidence points to Thomasine, Dame Frevisse knows she will need to find the real murderer.The murder mystery is quite clever evidence seems to be leading one way and then there is an unexpected twist at the end But as is usually in series mysteries, the real charm is in the characters and the setting We think of medieval women as being the powerless pawns of men, and that was true Yet this book features several highly intelligent women who have managed to obtain and keep a modicum of power in their own spheres, presented in a believeable way.There is a particularly dramatic scene where Spoiler alert Sir Walter, the son of Lady Ermentrude, and his men are massed outside the church, fully prepared to enter the church and forcibly remove the novice Thomasine The nuns have formed a physical barricade between Sir Walter and Thomasine, who is standing at the altar The nuns are chanting the Dies Irae, a hymn used in the Funeral Mass, that speaks of God s judgment upon sinners FYI, the Dies Irae chorus in Verdi s Requiem is particularly dramatic and terrifying it s one of my favorites.Anyway, this series is my catnip in many ways and this is a fun start to it.

  8. says:

    First in the Sister Frevisse medieval mystery series revolving around a group of nuns, Dame Frevisse in particular The series is based in St Frideswide s priory, a Benedictine order, in Oxfordshire This particular story takes place in September in the Year of Our Lord s grace 1431.My TakeOkay, do not read this too soon after reading her Joliffe series as it incorporates the same Bishop of Winchester in both series I made the mistake of reading both at the same time and I kept waiting for Joliffe to appear or Basset to start directing That said This is an excellent story full of twists, turns, and tremendous turmoil Frazer provides all the necessary clues along with loads of red herrings which will keep you guessing as to the reason for the lady s death The perpetrators are actually fairly obvious, but the how and why are not I am so looking forward to the next in the series The Servant s Tale.It s a time of growth for Thomasine Thank god Because she makes me a bit nuts with her obsessive adherence to rules, her childish outlook and reactions, her timidity, and her lack of intelligence.The StoryFrom an enjoyable cose with Master Chaucer to coping with the demands of Lady Ermentrude, the day is rapidly deteriorating For Lady Ermentrude is only happy when she is creating a fuss and poking at people Yet something has changed as the lady suddenly decides to ride on to her great niece s household Now This instant And with a whirl, she and some of her household ride off Unfortunately, Lady Ermentrude returns to the priory the next day Drunk, belligerent, and swaying on her feet She is fuming and demanding that Thomasine leave the priory with her immediately She fully intends to force her into a marriage and away from this sinkhole of corruption But Lady Ermentrude is in no shape to ride on as she misses stairs and staggers with the aid of Thomasine and young Robert Fenner to one of the guest rooms.It s Martha s interference and nosiness that leads to her own downfall Just as Lady Ermentrude s arrogance is hers Unfortunately for Thomasine, it s Sir Walter s greed that fastens upon her and forces Dame Frevisse to apply her own intellect to discovering the truth as well as protecting her fellow nuns The CharactersThomasine is a novice with a true devotion at St Frideswide s Lady Isobel is her older sister by five years and married some years now to Sir John with three children.Dame Frevisse has recently been promoted to hosteler for the priory requiring her to interact with visitors to the priory Domina Edith has been the prioress at St Frideswide s for the past 32 years Old, but very astute Dame Claire is the infirmarian tending to the nunnery and any who ask her help Father Henry is the priory priest A young man and not scholarly, but deep in his faith Dame Alys is the cellarer in charge of overseeing labor, land, and buildings as well as all that pertains to the kitchen Martha Hayward is a former maid to Lady Ermentrude who has retired to live and work at St Frideswide s She has some kitchen duties and cares for Domina Edith s tiny, elderly greyhound She gives herself airs and has been boring everyone for years now with her stories about Court Dame Perpetua is in charge of the novices.Thomas Chaucer is the son of Geoffrey Chaucer He is also one of the richest and most powerful commoners in England Cousin to Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester Powerful enough to have been on the King s Council Uncle by marriage to Dame Frevisse through her Aunt Matilda He s on his way to France to collect Lord Moleyns heiress and the son of the now deceased William Vaughan Lady Ermentrude Fenner is an old, powerful, and wealthy bitch She s also Thomasine s great aunt by marriage And no one who comes within the orbit of the Fenner family is ever allowed to leave it as one never knows when one will be of use or profit to the Fenners St Frideswide s tolerates Lady Ermentrude as the Fenners donate generously to their coffers and larders She has two ladies in waiting one of whom was a spy planted by the queen Sir Walter is her son and as bad as she He greatly resents having to be here when he could be waiting for Lord Fenner to die after all, he needs to ensure that his cousin doesn t disperse the lands or monies away from his inheritance Robert Fenner is a great nephew and does his best to shield Thomasine and the nuns from Sir Walter s intentions He s also falling in love with Thomasine.Master Montfort is the crowner interested in expediency than truth Until forced to it by Dames Frevisse and Claire.The CoverThe cover is much too fancy for my impression of this nunnery Burgundy marble is inlaid in recessed panels in granite columns which support the sides of a granite building punctured by a Gothic window with a diamond paned stained glass insert in the peak of the window Narrower, inlaid columns frame either side of the window while carvings of leaves square off the peak Stepped moldings at the base of the primary columns and the window provide additional dignity with green marble panels inserted at the base Through the window, we see a golden wine cup on its side, the bloody looking wine puddled and dripping down the side of the rough wooden table.The title is Thomasine as The Novice s Tale reflects her life and hoped for future which this murder seems to threaten.

  9. says:

    The first in the extensive Sister Frevisse medieval mystery series.Although it is definitely a formula mystery than an historicalnovel, I didn t find it to be aggravatingly ahistorical.Set in 15th century England, the convent of St Fridewide s is home toSister Frevisse, a devout but eminently practical nun It s also hometo Thomasine, a young novice whose piousness goes far beyond theordinary Thomasine is deathly afraid that her loud and obnoxious AuntErmentrude will somehow drag her out of the convent to be marriedbefore she can take her final vows So when Lady Ermentrude turns updead, suspicion naturally falls on Thomasine shy as she may be, shedefinitely had a motive And the official in charge of investigatingthe crime seems loath to look any further than the quickest and easiestsuspect to hang the crime on and hang But Sister Frevisse has afeeling that Thomasine is innocent and it looks like it will fall toher to try to find the actual murderer.A fun and entertaining read.

  10. says:

    I downloaded this book a few years ago when I took a sudden interest in medieval monastic life and didn t actually start reading it until recently It s a murder mystery novel, the first of its kind that I ve read and I ve thoroughly enjoyed it, although it feels to me the murder mystery part isn t so much for the reader to solve as they go along as it is for them to experience It s a very enticing read from start to finish, and has some powerful awesome end scenes that Margaret Frazer manages to convey so well I could imagine them perfectly in the head, so much so the Irae Dies scene should rightly be something straight out of a movie view spoiler It s a shame it cuts off and skips ahead right as Sister Frevisse finds the murderers I feel as though it could have made for a very interesting and fulfilling scene to read, especially since we ve been chasing them throughout the entire book.The book ends on a rather monologue ish note and slows down, but this I feel was necessary to grant closure on why everything happened the way it did hide spoiler

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