Skip to main content

The Sanctuary Sparrow by Ellis Peters

Year of publication: 1983
Series and no.: Brother Cadfael, # 7
Genre: Historical mystery
Type of mystery: Robbery and murder
Type of investigator: Monk
Setting & time: Shrewsbury, England, 12th century

A young travelling jongleur and entertainer is hunted down by an angry lynch mob bent on administering justice after a goldsmith is attacked and - they think - murdered on the night of his son's wedding. He manages to reach the sanctuary of the abbey church and when questioned, adamantly denies having had anything to do with the robbery. The goldsmith has survived the attack, but a robbery of that magnitude is punishable by death, so the young man is no better off. Cadfael's impression is that he is innocent, and that indefatigable sleuth sets off to investigate the crime. As always, love rears it's shining head, and the mystery seems impenetrably tangled.

This is the best of the Cadfael books I have read so far. It not only has Peters' characteristic comfortable narrative style, excellent characterisations and good writing, but also a tight, flawless puzzle plot and a masterful treatment of universal themes that come together to create a near-perfect mystery. The whole book is not only a story of a crime investigation, but a treatment of how greed and parsimony can saturate not only the ones suffering from it, but also infect and/or destroy those around them. Is also about different types of love: love of material wealth stronger than that of one's family, love of self, sacrificing love, obsessive love, redeeming love. 5 stars.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finis…

Stiff – The curious lives of human cadavers

Originally published in November and December 2004, in 4 parts. Book 42 in my first 52 books challenge.

Author: Mary Roach
Year published: 2003
Pages: 303
Genre: Popular science, biology
Where got: amazon.co.uk

Mom, Dad, what happens after we die?

This is a classic question most parents dread having to answer. While this book doesn’t answer the philosophical/theological part of the question – what happens to the soul? - it does claim to contain answers to the biological part, namely: what happens to the body?



Reading progress for Stiff:
Stiff is proving to be an interesting read. Roach writes in a matter-of-fact journalistic style that makes the subject seem less grim than it really is, but she does on occasion become a bit too flippant about it, I guess in an attempt to distance herself. Although she uses humour to ease the grimness, the jokes – which, by the way, are never about the dead, only the living, especially Roach herself – often fall flat. Perhaps it’s just me, but this is a serio…

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.


Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.



Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.



Fold the square diagonally in two. You…