I do like historical fiction, and if there’s murder and mayhem involved, all the better. I don’t remember who I first learned of Brother Cadfael from, but once I found it, I had to read through them all.
Edith Parteger (Sept 28, 1913- Oct 14, 1995) was quite a talented woman. She used several pen names, the one associated with Brother Cadfael most familiar to me. She calls on her Welsh ancestry in the series. According to Wikipedia, she did not attend any higher learning (colleges or universities) but became self-taught in the areas that interested her. She received an honorary masters degree from Birmingham University.
She garnered several recognitions of her writing, including an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for “services to Literature” before she passed away.
She used both men’s and women’s names, writing under Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael and George Felse series), John Redfern, and Peter Benedict, to name a few. More can be found, with a list of her books, on the Wikipedia page. There is also a Yahoo group to discuss her works. Now, when I am finished here, I am going to hop onto my library’s website and request a few books 😉
Onto Brother Cadfael. Again, Wikipedia has a terrific Cadfael page. The best way to discover him of course is to read the series! He is a Welsh monk, living in a Benedictine abbey in Shrewsbury. He enters the Life in his 40’s, having been both soldier (in the Crusades) and a sailor. His particular skills and experience cause the Abbey to call on him as medical examiner. He’s somewhat of an expert herbologist as well. His background seems to set him at odds with his chosen life at times. An extensive bio is listed on the Wiki page. Of course, it includes spoilers to the story line. 😉
The series is set between 1135-1145, the years of warring between King Steven and Princess Maud for the crown of England. Ms Peters was renouned for her accuracy in the history surrounding the era. I enjoy her descriptions of the countryside, the elaborate castles, and the inner workings of the Abbey itself. The series has been made into television episodes by the BBC. I tried one and I have to admit…I snoozed. But, those of you who enjoy BBC adaptations should love them.
The bottom of the Wiki page lists the series in order, and they link to their own pages with a detailed plot synopsis. I suggest reading them in order, but I tend to do things that way. They don’t need to be, necessarily. Each book is a good, stand alone story. I particularly enjoyed Saint Peter’s Fair and The Virgin In The Ice. I hope I encouraged you to pick up a good mystery today.
If you’ve read my book, Seasons Of A Life, you now know where Victoria’s Irish Wolfhound got his name. 😀