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The Riddle of St. Leonard’s

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Riddle of St. Leonard’s (1997) Candace Robb

Riddle of St LeonardsSetin England in 1369

The plague has come again to York, and people are taking whatever measures they can to protect themselves.

Aromatic fires burned everywhere to ward off the pestilence, creating a fog in some of the passageways. Continuous Masses were said for the people, and once a day a procession wound from St George’s Chapel around the lower ward, through the Norman Gate, and around the upper ward, with a benediction said at the royal apartments before the procession returned to the chapel.

From a pouch at her waist Magda drew two cloth bags filled with scent, handed one to Owen, held the other over her mouth and nose. These would protect them from the noxious vapours that spread disease.

She had been heavy with her son Peter and fearful that the stench would turn him to a monster in her womb.

Be aware, there is a death of a beloved character in this book. Considering the plague, we’re lucky there was only the single death, but this was (IIRC) the third time the plague had been through, so it was less virulent than previous visitations.

The mystery is that corrodians have been dying, and it is being whispered that someone is killing.

‘The corrodians pay a sum, reckoned on some assumptions: they are elderly, they have decided to retire from active life, and so they will likely soon sicken and die. The sum is set high, hoping that they die before it is used up in supporting them. Else why take them in? But some folk are too long-lived.’

When Bess’ uncle is killed, Owen is drawn further into the murders, looking for a solution for Thoresby, Ravenser, and for Bess. And it is an interesting mystery, since the obvious answer–that St Leonard’s, already struggling for money, might want corrodians who have outlived their payment to move along.

To be honest, I found the solution a little less interesting than the plague, but that’s okay.

Publisher: Diversion Books
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Mystery, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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