Award-winning Author of the Sister Frevisse Mysteries and the Joliffe Player Mysteries 


May 2011

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May 1st, 2011


The Stone-Worker's Tale - Margaret Frazer

"The Stone-Worker's Tale" has been released for the Kindle. It can also be read on any iPad, Android, Windows PC, Mac, or Blackberry device using the free Kindle Reading Apps for those platforms.


When Frevisse is given bishop-pardoned leave to visit her cousin Alice at Ewelme, she is enchanted by the work of the sculptor Simon Maye. Charged with carving the angels upon Alice's tomb, Simon has been truly touched by God's gift - there was an otherworldiness to their stone features, an aliveness to the very feathers of their wings. He saw beauty that others could not, and brought it to life through his craft.
But Simon also saw the beauty of Elyn, one of Alice's ladies in waiting. Clandestine meetings have given way to sinful lust, and now the two lovers have disappeared. The servants whisper that the lovers have eloped, and secretly pine for the passion to do the same. Lady Alice believes her sculptor has been stolen away by jealous rivals and rages at the injustice. But Frevisse alone suspects there may be some darker truth behind the midnight vanishing...

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As a special feature, this e-book also contains a Lost Tale of Dame Frevise... sort of.

By the late 1990's several of my Dame Frevisse novels had been translated into German. As a result, I was asked to write a short mystery story for a German-language Swiss magazine. And when I say “short”, I mean short: It could only be 800 words long. The magazine, sold mainly in railway stations, was publishing stories of this length with the idea they would be short enough for readers to complete during a commuter train ride.

To help me understand what they were looking for, my agent kindly sent me a sample story provided by the magazine. Being in German, this was not as helpful as it might have been: I don’t read German. A teacher of German at my son’s school kindly looked it over and gave me the gist of it, which did help insofar as it confirmed that, yes, it was a short murder mystery. I gave him a copy of one of my books in a German edition in return for his help and buckled down to the unusual challenge.

Fortunately, I didn't have to actually write it in German. (It would be translated by the magazine publishers.) The tricky part (besides the fact that I tend to be verbose) was less the story itself (although that had to be tricksy, too) but the fact that in a history mystery a sense of a different time and place have to be established along with everything else. Creating time and place take up a lot of words, and then there has to be some presentation of characters and a mystery and a solution, altogether making for a rather intricate challenge.

But when it was done and shipped off to Switzerland, the story continued dancing in my mind. It felt too short in some ways. The first rush of notes I had made for it had far more in the way of characters and relationships than were possible to use in the given word-count, and even after the necessary ruthless cutting the itch to further explore those characters and relationships stayed with me. A few years later, when Mike Ashley asked me for a story for one of his anthologies, I took the chance to expand the tale to its full and proper length. Hence "The Stone-Worker's Tale".

"The Sculptor's Tale", on the other hand, has remained unpublished in its original form since it first appeared in that Swiss magazine. And the English version has never been publicly available until today!

- Margaret

May 8th, 2011


The Outlaw's Tale - Margaret Frazer     The Bishop's Tale - Margaret Frazer     The Boy's Tale - Margaret Frazer

Those of you with iPads might be interested to know that The Outlaw's Tale and The Boy's Tale are now available through Apple's iBookstore. The Bishop's Tale will be following them shortly, as soon as it clears Apple's digital publishing process.

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to actually link to specific titles on the iBookstore. But if you do a search, they should pop right up.

In addition, all of my Kindle e-books (short stories and novels alike) are now available at (the German site for Amazon). This doesn't mean they've been translated; they're just available for sale. (Unfortunately, it doesn't look like any of the actual German translations are available as e-books. Although they are still available in print.)

- Margaret

May 15th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart, a novella starring Domina Frevisse, has been released for both the Kindle and the Nook! This is the first new story featuring Frevisse since The Apostate's Tale in 2008 and to celebrate I'm going on a blog tour: Over the next two weeks, I'll be making "appearances" on blogs all across the web with interviews, essays, and other fun stuff. My appearances will all be linked here from my home page, so if you subscribe to my feed, or follow me on Facebook, you'll be able to keep track of me during the tour as it happens.

Winter Heart - Margaret Frazer
One man has been kidnapped. Another has been murdered.

In the bleakest depths of winter, Frevisse finds her soul chilled with the heavy burdens of duty and responsibility. Even the warmth of charity is in short supply as the villagers of Prior Byfield turn against each in bloody feuds of greed and rage, weaving knots of treachery which even the clever Frevisse may find hard to unwind.

Award-winning author Margaret Frazer gathers shadows around the hearth to tell a tale of frigid winter and icy passion. Join Frevisse in her fervent prayers for a true peace of mind and body as she pits all her forceful will against the most cunning of evils. Fear for the lives which may be destroyed in unlocking the secrets of the winter heart...


My Winter Heart Blog Tour is coming to its end, and I can’t believe how much fun I’ve had.  As an author, I cheerfully spend most of my time alone, immersed in my work.  Over the years, signings and suchlike have drawn me out only occasionally.  So this venture into the cyber-world has been an adventure.  Thank you, one and all, for sharing it with me.



If you're new to the Dame Frevisse series, you can learn more about the series over here. In addition to Winter Heart and the novels, she has also appeared in three short stories: "The Witch's Tale", "The Midwife's Tale", and "The Stone-Worker's Tale" (all of which are now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore, and other fashionable online purveyors of the written word).

“Dame Frevisse, the pious and perspective nun gives focus to this sober series... [Frazer] shows a meticulous detail that speaks of trustworthy scholarship and a sympathetic imagination.” – New York Times Book Review

"Once you begin to read this series, you will want to follow your new friends to the end of their personal story.” – Cross Point Book Reviews

"Exquisitely written... A superbly researched medieval mystery series!” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Everything about it bespeaks quality and care… Frazer draws us into a medieval village in England with a story of lust, greed, and murder.” – St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Sister Frevisse is a stalwart, appealing sleuth." - Mostly Murder

"Truly shocking scenes and psychological twists." - Mystery Loves Company

"Frazer uses her extensive knowledge of the period to create an unusual plot ... appealing characters and crisp writing." - Los Angeles Times
Twice nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.
Twice nominated for the Edgar Award.
A Romantic Times Top Pick.

The Novice's Tale - Margaret Frazer     The Outlaw's Tale - Margaret Frazer     The Boy's Tale - Margaret Frazer    The Midwife's Tale - Margaret Frazer     The Witch's Tale - Margaret Frazer     The Stone-Worker's Tale - Margaret Frazer

May 15th, 2011
Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour


Margaret Frazer's Facebook Fan Page

Today I'm driving back from Kalamazoo, MI, where I've been attending the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, so my first "real" appearance will be tomorrow.

It's release day! Once you're done reading Winter Heart, stop on by my Facebook fan page and let me know what you think!

And if you've got a moment to spare, please help me spread the word about both Winter Heart and the Winter Heart Blog Tour. Let your friends know. And if you're on Facebook, pop on over to my fan page and click the like button on the blog tour announcement.

- Margaret

May 16th, 2011
Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour


Winter Heart Blog Tour - Pat Stoltey's Blog

What is a historical novel? Why do we write them? What makes them special? These are questions I wrestle with often and Patricia Stoltey gave me a chance to explore some answers. Check it out. I'll be joining you in the comments over there later today.

Patricia is the author of The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders, two mysteries starring Sylvia Thorn, a retired FBI agent and judge who finds herself drawn into some surprising sleuthing.

- Margaret

May 17th, 2011
Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour


Winter Heart Blog Tour - The Alexandrian

Justin Alexander, who runs the Alexandrian, is also the fellow who has been editing my e-books and designing my covers. The Alexandrian isn't a blog dedicated to mysteries or historicals, but Justin asked me some great questions and the unique, outside perspective on historical fiction gave the interview a really interesting slant. Check it out.

- Margaret

May 18th, 2011
Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour


Strange Gods, Strange Men

Today I'm taking a break from appearances. But instead of an interview, you're getting a Blog Tour Special! My short story "Strange Gods, Strange Men" is on sale for both the Kindle and Nook for just $0.99!


Only sometimes, when the rain was falling or the gray mist hung thick among the trees, did he remember...

... blue seas and a blue sky of a kind never seen in these cold northlands. And green, green marshes, and the thick smells of the delta marshes and black Nile mud, and Alexandria glowing white under a sun that baked to the bones. Alexandria. The name itself sang of legends -- Joseph and Moses and Pharoah; statues that sang at dawn; and pyramids said to be as big as mountains and maybe full of gold.

And there he had learned how legends looked when they were half-tumbled into ruins.

Join award-winning author Margaret Frazer in the sweltering deserts of medieval Egypt, where the swirling dust of history wraps man and god alike in a legacy of endless blood.

Kindle Edition / Nook Edition

Feel free to drop by my Facebook fan page and say hello if you're feeling friendly! We've also got some interesting conversations continuing on Patricia Stoltey's blog.

- Margaret

May 19th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - Poe's Deadly Daughters

I had a simply delightful time being interviewed by Elizabeth Zelvin for Poe's Deadly Daughters. And Elizabeth was kind enough to let me blather on for as long as I'd like. Come join our little chat! I'll be answering questions in the comments over there starting later this morning.

- Margaret

May 20th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - Let Them Read Books

At Let Them Read Books, Lady Q has been entertaining me with her Tour d'Italia -- a literary tour of Italy. Winter Heart, of course, is a bit further afield, but she has nonetheless been kind enough to host me today with a brief discussion of where this particular story came from. She also offers a very charming review for those of you still pondering the novella's virtues.

- Margaret

May 22nd, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - The LadyKillers

Priscilla Royal, most recently author of the medieval mystery Valley of Dry Bones, was kind enough to interview me for the LadyKillers. Venturing far beyond Winter Heart, we chatted about Joliffe and my other short stories and all manner of things. Come join us for Crafting the Historical Mystery: An Interview with Margaret Frazer.
- Margaret

May 24th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour


We have apparently run into some scheduling problems with the blog tour today. We're hoping to have them straightened out shortly, but in the meantime here's something I meant to mention awhile ago, but which slipped through the cracks: Sharon Kay Penman, my dear friend and an extraordinarily talented writer, has written a very fine article on the difficulties (and rewards) of staying as true as may be to medieval mind-sets in our novels and not cheating by giving our characters modern sensibilities they could never have had. To that I can only add, "Hear! Hear!"

You might also be interested in an interview Sharon did with me back in December as a very special Christmas gift. Hopefully that can tide you over until this blog tour thing can get itself straightened out!

- Margaret

May 25th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - Jeri Westerson

I'm joining Jeri Westerson, author of the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series, and Getting Medieval. Jeri's hosting my thoughts on the Joys of Research. If there’s anything that I enjoy in the same degree that I enjoy writing, it’s the research that goes with it...

- Margaret

May 26th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - Release Notes

The technical difficulties we were having a couple days ago seem to have been largely resolved. Which means I'm now retroactively appearing at Karen Johnson's Release Notes. Take my hand for a little double-layered time travel, as we go Falling Into Medieval England.
- Margaret

May 28th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - Historical Tapestry

I remember, in my early days in St. Frideswide’s, a morning when I had to leave off my writing for the day, dress in “office clothes”, and go to stand on a corner waiting for a bus to take me to yet another temp job. The day was February at its most bleak: grim, gray, cold, and slush-ridden. Traffic roared past, and all the buses were full or, when one paused with at least standing room left, I failed to scale the dirty snowbank faster than others eager to crowd into the fusty heat beyond the hissing doors. As one bus after another came and went – with nothing to be won by actually getting on one except a day in a cubicle under merciless fluorescent lights -- I thought (quite pathetically, as I recall), “I want to go back to my nunnery!”

Historical Tapestry is hosting Why I Love Life in a Medieval Nunnery today. 

- Margaret

May 29th, 2011

Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

Winter Heart Blog Tour - Tiffany's Bookshelf

For today's pit-stop on the Winter Heart Blog Tour, Tiffany Harkleroad offers a full review of Winter Heart for those of you still on the fence regarding the story.

- Margaret

May 30th, 2011
Margaret Frazer's Winter Heart Blog Tour

My Winter Heart Blog Tour is coming to its end, and I can’t believe how much fun I’ve had.  As an author, I cheerfully spend most of my time alone, immersed in my work.  Over the years, signings and suchlike have drawn me out only occasionally.  So this venture into the cyber-world has been an adventure.  Thank you, one and all, for sharing it with me.

Looking ahead, I've been selected to speak at the Historical Novel Society Conference in San Diego, CA, which will take place June 17th thru 19th, 2011. Among other things, I'll be moderating a panel:

Keeping a Series Fresh
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
8:30 - 9:30 AM

I've been doing some light reading to familiarize myself with the matter. What are your thoughts? What keeps a series fresh for you? Drop by my Facebook page and join the discussion.


This was my first exposure to medieval mystery, and I have to say, I was highly intrigued.  It took a little while to get into the story, as the type of language and pacing is a little different than a contemporary mystery novel, but once I adjusted my mindset, I flew through this book.  I was excited to see Domina Frevisse at work, to learn her line of reasoning and type of logic.  I really enjoyed her as a character.  We do not learn much about her personally in this book, but it is not necessary for us to feel a deep connection with her in order to appreciate her character.

I really loved the setting of this book, as it was so unique.  Medieval mysteries are a highly specified genre, and the only other author in the genre I am at all familiar with is Michael Jecks, so chances are readers who like his work will also like works by Frazer.  This story is one from a series starring Frevisse, but it also works well as a stand alone book for readers like me just getting acquainted with Frazer's work.

Before now I had not read any of Frazer's Dame Frevisse or Player Joliffe mysteries, though I'd long wanted to! This is a novella, so it's a very quick read and a great introduction to Dame Frevisse for anyone who's not familiar with the series. It's different from most other historical fiction I've read in that, one, the main character is a nun, and so most of the story takes place inside a nunnery, and two, it paints a vivid and realistic picture of life in a tiny medieval village, and it's not all quaint and dreamy. It's winter, life is hard. Crown officials are seldom seen, and it's up to the village to keep its own peace. I enjoyed it, and you know me--anything that educates as well as entertains me gets a thumbs up in my book!

Margaret Frazer brings medieval England to life.
I absolutely love the Dame Frevisse novels!
Sister Frevisse, now Domina Frevisse as prioress of St. Frideswide's, has more to worry about now that she is responsible for the whole priory. But she always has time to solve a murder! When Master Naylor comes to her with the problem of Tom Kelstowe, she cannot help being intrigued. Tom had disappeared after being accused of rape, and under the law to flee is to admit guilt. But he returns claiming he was kidnapped, and though doubtful, Frevisse gives him a second chance. Then a murder occurs.

Frevisse is as sharp as ever, and Frazer's characterization and historical background as good as ever, in this short (too short!) return to St. Frideswide's and our old familiar friends. I just wish the visit had been longer to prolong the pleasure her books always give me.
If you've ever wished you could drop in on 15th century England, reading a novel by Margaret Frazer is almost like being there. Witness the author's new novella, "Winter Heart," which features an old friend, Dame Frevisse, now become Domina Frevisse.

This beloved heroine is once again confronted with murders, poisonings, and other crimes near St. Frideswide's priory. If Frevisse fails to find the guilty person, an innocent man may be condemned. Fortunately, in becoming the head of the priory, the nun has lost none of her detective instincts, and Frazer leads us skillfully to a satisfying conclusion of the plot.

I particularly enjoyed the setting of "Winter Heart," the flavor of Benedictine hospitality as well as devout faith of the nuns, the interplay of various medieval people and personalities. Frazer speaks at the end of the book about "the pleasure of going thoroughly into otherwhen as well as otherwhere...." You'll find plenty of both in this tale.
In this novelette we find Domina Frevisse balancing the responsibilities of Prioress with her talent for solving crime. A young man in the village is missing after being accused of rape. Things about his disappearance do not add up, and cause Domina Frevisse to delve into the mystery. As usual the plot is well thought out and well executed. You also always learn about history in Ms. Frazer's books in an interesting and informative way. I love the interaction of Domina Frevisse with the characters we know and love from her pre-Prioress days. I wish the book was longer so that I could have enjoyed it for a longer time!

- Margaret

May 31st, 2011


Mystery Readers Journal

My retrospective "A Survey of Medieval London" appears in the Spring 2011 issue of the Mystery Readers Journal. It's only a short article, but I had a lovely time writing it, remembering while I did my time tracing out the remains of medieval London by walking all over the heart of modern London with modern map and 16th century guidebook in hand.  Great days.

- Margaret