TO THE PRIORY A LADY CAME FOR MISCHIEF...
AND FOR MURDER
is the year of Our Lord's grace 1431, and the nuns of England's St.
Frideswide sweetly chant their Paternosters behind gracious, trellised
walls. But their quiet lives are shattered by the unwelcome visit of
the hard-drinking, blaspheming dowager Lady Ermentrude, with her
retinue of lusty maids and men, baying hounds, and even a pet monkey in
tow. The lady demands wine, a feast, and her niece, the frail and
saintly novice Thomasine.
What she gets is her own strange and sudden death.
Frevisse, hosteler of the priory and amateur sleuth, fears murder. The
most likely suspect is pious Thomasine... but Frevisse alone detects a
clever web spun to entangle an innocent nun in the most unholy of
passions - and the deadliest of deeds.
The first volume of the
award-winning Sister Frevisse novels!
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- Author's Note
MINSTRELS AND MURDER AT A MEDIEVAL
It was Christmastime, and the sisters of
St. Frideswide cannot turn away travellers ... even the
players knocking at the nunnery door. But along with the
motley troupe comes the grievously wounded husband of the
cloister's scullery maid, Meg. They swear they found the
drunken wastrel in a ditch... but the tale sounds like
another song and dance. Especially when two dead bodies
are waiting in the wings...
Now Sister Frevisse must find out if one
of the actors is a murderer in masquerade - or face a very
unmerry Yuletide season...
Print Edition - Author's Note
"The essence of a truly historical
story is that people should feel and believe according to
their times. Margaret Frazer has accomplished this
extraordinarily well." - Anne Perry
ACT OF MERCY, ACT OF MURDER
On her way to baptism, Sister Frevisse
finds blood is thicker than water... and is as easily
spilled. Waylaid by a band of outlaws, she learns that
their leader is her long-lost cousin Nicholas. He asks
Frevisse's help to get him pardoned for his crimes. But
while Frevisse is lodging at the home of Nicholas's
business companion, someone commits an unpardonable act:
Now Frevisse must discover who robbed a
rich landowner of his purse and his life - even if it
means her own kin is condemned...
Kindle Edition - Nook Edition
Print Edition - Author's Note
"A tale well told, filled with
intrigue and spiced with romance and rogues." -
School Library Journal
"...a meticulous recreation of not
only how people lived more than five hundred years ago,
but how they loved, suffered and sinned. Just the thing
for anybody who usually disparages the genre to show how
well it can be done, in the right hands." - Myshelf.com
MOURNING DARKENED A MEDIEVAL MANOR...
AND SO DID MURDER
Death, the pious say, is the great
mystery, and Sister Frevisse finds it puzzling indeed. She
has come to Ewelme Manor to grieve for her uncle; Bishop
Beaufort arrives to mourn for an old friend. Neither
expected querulous Sir Clement Sharpe to stand at the
funeral feast, dare God to strike him down... and then
Since other guests have supped on the same
meat and wine without ill-effect, all believe the Lord's
hand smote Sir Clement. The wily Bishop Beaufort, however,
secretly orders Frevisse to snoop from the kitchens to the
chapel for an unusual poison. But the clever nun has her
eyes open for something else: a killer with a venomous
hatred... or a diabolic love.
Kindle Edition - Nook Edition
Print Edition - Author's Note
Minnesota Book Award Nominee
"Some truly shocking scenes and
psychological twists." - Mystery Loves Company
"Rich period detail, canny
characterization, and a lively plot should endear Sister
Frevisse and her tales to anyone who enjoys historical
mysteries." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN...
A dark lady rides back into the life
of Dame Frevisse, bearing with her two small boys haunted by the touch
of death and scandal. Nine men lie dead on the road behind them,
victims of the grim fate which relentlessly pursues them. Some seek to
turn them away, but when they request sanctuary Frevisse is bound by
her holy oaths to grant it.
But in welcoming them within the
walls of St. Frideswide, has Dame Frevisse allowed death to stalk the
nunnery's halls? When she begins to untangle the mystery of these
strange guests, the truth she discovers may be enough to doom them all.
Forced to keep secrets better left untold even from the nuns of her own
order, Frevisse is caught in a crucible between faith and duty.
To learn the boy's name is to be drawn into a conspiracy of shame. To hear the boy's tale is to face death.
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Kindle Edition - Nook Edition
Print Edition - Author's Note
"Seeing events through the eyes of
small children not understanding royal politics was an
especially pleasing part of experiencing this story."
"Frazer's writing is both erudite and
vivid, and she has the ability to bring characters to life
within a strong, clear story." - The Drood Review of
THROUGH A MURDERER'S EYES...
Leaving St. Frideswide on pilgrimage was
a welcome respite for Sister Frevisse - as was her
errand along the way at Minster Lovell. But during her
stay at the minster, Frevisse finds the bitter poison of
jealousy and betrayal working at the hearts of the
brothers Giles and Lionel.
Wanting nothing more than a passing
moment of peace and quiet, Frevisse finds only the
disquiet of the heart when jealousy turns to murder and
death comes visiting at the minster's door...
"The period details are lavish and
the characters are full-blooded..." - Minneapolis
“Frazer has created the most despicable villain since Iago.” - Detective as Historian
CORRUPTION, KIDNAPPING, AND MURDER
AT THE PRIORY...
After Domina Alys was made prioress, St. Frideswide's
became nothing more than a guest house for her
relatives, the Godfreys. There was less and less peace
to be had anywhere - especially for Sister Frevisse.
Constantly tormented by Domina Alys, Frevisse is
further dismayed to discover that St. Frideswide's
modest stores were being depleted by the Godfrey clan.
And when a long-standing family rivalry begins with a
kidnapping and ends with a murder, it's up to Frevisse
to rid the nunnery of its unwelcome - and deadly -
"A stark portrait of a nunnery
subject to the fierce tides of family rivalries and power
plays." - The Poisoned Pen
"Splendid... Frazer has a sure grasp
on the realities of medieval life..." - Mystery
INTRIGUES MOST ROYAL...
MURDER MOST FOUL
Sister Frevisse has made an unusual
journey to London to meet the new prioress of St.
Frideswide's. At the urging of her abbot, she stays with
her wealthy cousin Alice, lady wife of the earl of
But Frevisse suspects more is involved than a
friendly visit - for this London home houses a secret
that has turned deadly: Alice is involved in the
dangerous political machinations of the Duke of Orleans
and King Henry VI. Their private correspondence is being
routed through the Suffolk's home. But when one of the
messengers dies under mysterious circumstances and
Frevisse is asked to carry letters in his place, she
finds herself faced with a deadly question: Can she find
the traitor before the murderer strikes again when she
herself has become the target?
"One of the most enjoyable of the
Sister Frevisse mysteries. The sights and sounds of
medieval London are vividly described... Dame Frevisse
herself is a formidable character, pious, intellectual
and shrewd. I love reading her adventures... A
delightful book." - L. O'Connor, Amazon.com.
"Great fun for all lovers of
history and their mystery." - Minneapolis Star
MURDER, PLAGUE, AND DEATH...
As reeve of the small village of Pryor Byfield, Simon
Perryn must rule on many local disputes - a task he
often shares with the steward of St. Frideswide's
nunnery. But when the steward is accused of dishonesty
and forced to step aside, the worldly Dame Frevisse is
sent to replace him.
Her new duties thrust the reluctant Frevisse into the
conflicts, rivalries, and domestic dramas of the locals
- and when a plague sweeps through the town, the
overworked nun must stay so as not to expose the nunnery
to the disease. But after two villagers are brutally
killed, Frevisse must divide her time between tending
for the sick and searching for the truth.
As death casts a cloud over Prior Byfield, fear and
suspicion reign - and Frevisse's keen deductions lead
her ever closer to the disturbing truth...
Minnesota Book Award Nominee
"Offers a brilliantly realized
vision of a typical medieval English village...
Suspenseful from start to surprising conclusion...
another gem." - Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
HONEST LOVE, DISHONEST LUST
Years ago, young Robert Fenner was forced into
marriage with Lady Blaunche. Now, in 1442, he is being
forced toward warfare over the property to which she
wrongfully claims ownership. To make matters worse, a
wealthy young heiress has captured hearts on both sides
of the feud - including his - and it is up to Robert to
decide whom she will marry.
Drawn from her nunnery's contemplative quiet by Lady
Blaunche's need, Dame Frevisse is caught up among the
passions of a man desperate for what he cannot have; a
powerful knight blocked from what is rightfully his; and
a young woman trapped in the eye of the storm.
Who will see that justice is done after honest love
and dishonest lust spawn anger, greed, and finally...
"As exquisitely woven as a medieval
tapestry... Frazer's research is dazzling." - The
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Written with the graceful rhythms
that have garnered her two Edgar nominations...
transports the reader to a medieval England made vivid
and a world of emotions as familiar then as now." -
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A MAN HATED BY HIS WIFE, HIS
AND HIS KILLER.
St. Mary's nunnery is a place of prayer and healing
for women - so it is surprising to see a man sprawled
out in the cloister garden. Dead. Less surprising, to
Dame Frevisse, was the identity of the victim: Master
Montfort was not particularly liked by anyone in the
town of Goring. Even his own wife and clerk despised
him. And as royal escheator he was trying to settle a
heated dispute between a wealthy woman and her supposed
Now Dame Frevisse must step in and untangle the
fortunes and felonies in a rivalry of wealth, family,
and politics. But the true challenge will be putting
aside her own feelings and serving justice for the
murder of an unjust man...
"The devout yet human Dame Frevisse
is back... another well-wrought tale of intrigue and
murder. History aficionados will delight and fans will
rejoice that the devout yet human Dame Frevisse is
back...." - Publishers Weekly
"A wonderful series. Frevisse, with
her common sense and humor and tang of salt, is one of
my favorite sleuths." - Sharon
Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author
AMBITION, TREACHERY, AND THE THRONE
It is the year 1447, and powerful men from all of
England have been summoned to Parliament in the great
pilgrimage town of Bury St. Edmunds. Most come to make
laws and pass taxes. But a small group of nobles will
use this chance to bring down their greatest rival
From her nunnery, Dame Frevisse is brought into this
swirl of politics and plotting by the ambitious Bishop
of Winchester. While she is meant to merely observe and
report to him what she sees, she is instead drawn into
the dangerous maelstrom encircling the throne of
And what Dame Frevisse will soon discover is that
desperate acts of loyalty and love are not always enough
to save men from murder... or an innocent man from the
"Anyone who values high historical
drama will feel amply rewarded by Edgar-nominee Frazer's
latest Dame Frevisse mystery... History fans will relish
every minute they spend with the characters in this
powerfully created medieval world. Prose that at times
verges on the poetic." - Publishers Weekly
FAMILY SECRETS AND A LEGACY LOST...
In the summer of 1448, when Sir Ralph Woderove is
found murdered near his estate, not even his family
mourns. A hard, vicious man of many quarrels, Sir Ralph
could have been killed by almost anyone. And though the
consensus is that his soul has surely gone to Hell, Sir
Ralph will continue to infuriate his heirs in death
through the grossly inadequate terms of his estate's
It falls to Dame Frevisse to escort Sir Ralph's widow
and daughter back to their manor, when another death
occurs under questionable circumstances - making it
clear that not all grievances have been laid to rest.
And as family secrets are dragged out into the light,
Dame Frevisse realizes that there is a murderer among
them who will not rest until the Woderove legacy has
been settled once and for all...
"Beautifully written and captures
the essence of the characters in a way that's
bittersweet as well as accurate." - The Best
"Frazer's latest will please both
Frevisse afficionados and historical mystery readers new
to the series." - Booklist
A WIDOW'S LAST HOPE...
In the spring of 1449, widow Cristiana Helyngton has
been kidnapped, defamed, and imprisoned in a nunnery -
as her late husband's duplicitous relatives seek to
obtain control over her lands and children. To secure
her freedom and save her daughters, Cristiana must use a
secret entrusted to her by her husband as he was dying -
a secret that could bring down those lords nearest the
king and destroy those most dear to her.
Dame Frevisse of St. Frideswide's nunnery must decide
where her loyalties lies - to the crown, to the truth,
or to England's peace. And whatever she chooses, in the
end her help may be of little use against the ruthless
men threatened by the secret on which all of Cristiana's
"The suspense builds steadily ...
in this well-wrought tale involving murder, treason, and
'layers of ambition and betrayal'." - Publishers
"[Frazer] uses many real historical
persons in her books, deftly and flawlessly weaving them
into the story. Her fictitious characters are also
well-defined, and Cristiana will break the reader's
heart." - Romantic Times
TRAPPED BY REBELS, THREATENED BY
THE INQUISITION... AND A GOLDEN FORTUNE IN THE BALANCE
Since the death of her husband, Anne Blakhall has
carried on their shared business as a tailor and
embroiderer in the heart of London. Rather than remarry
as prosperous London widows usually do, she has taken a
lover - David Weir, a foreign merchant who is secretly a
Jew and therefore in constant deadly peril so long as he
remains in England, where Jews have been banished for
over a hundred years. Anne, sharing in his secrets,
knows that both his life and hers would be forfeit if
ever he is found out.
Dame Frevisse of St. Frideswide's nunnery is in
London to arrange the funeral vestments for her cousin's
murdered husband, the Duke of Suffolk. But she is also
charged with secretly recovering - and then conveying to
her cousin - the gold the late duke sent out of England
shortly before his death. But her duty and their love
become more dangerous a rebel army advances on London -
and a murdered body is discovered in the crypt of a
London church, mutilated with what a Franciscan friar of
the Inquisition claims are Hebrew letters.
Frevisse must discover not only who is guilty... but
whether anyone is innocent at all.
"What Frazer, a meticulous
researcher, gets absolutely right in The Sempster's
Tale are the attitudes of the charactrs." -
Detroit Free Press
"Medieval English society, culture,
and politics come to life in Margaret Frazer's skillful
application of vivid imagery, complex characterizations,
and an intriguing plot." - BookLoons
A REBELLIOUS WAR, A TRAIL OF DEAD
TRAITORS, A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE CROWN...
Rebellious factions, determined to unseat King Henry
VI from the throne, have been staging uprisings
throughout England. London has been under siege for
three days and the populace is ready to repel the
invading rebels and reclaim the city.
In the midst of this unrest, Dame Frevisse of St.
Frideswide's nunnery has come to her cousin's side. Lady
Alice, widowed duchess of Suffolk, needs Frevisse's
support in burying her husband, as the late but not
lamented duke was so hated that even being in the
presence of his corpse is unsafe. And when men in
Suffolk's employ start disappearing, Frevisse fears for
her cousin's safety.
Wandering player Simon Joliffe has also come to
London, filling the role of courier for the exiled duke
of York and bringing vital information - a list bearing
the names of the English noblemen who purportedly
betrayed their King by conspiring with the French.
Included on this list are several of Suffolk's men, whom
Joliffe has been seeking and finding dead at every
If charges of treason are brought against Suffolk,
Lady Alice fears her son will be disinherited. Joining
Joliffe on his search for men on the list, Frevisse
starts to wonder whether or not the list is real or part
of an even greater conspiracy against the crown...
"Painted on a much broader
canvas... Ms. Frazer portrays the curse of 'living in
interesting times', making it all seem fresh and vibrant
as a news bulletin. Possibly the best in the series to
date, and that is saying a lot. Miss it at your
peril." - MyShelf.com
"When you pick up a Margaret Frazer
novel, you know you're in for a treat. She has a
marvelous way of weaving historical details, facts,
politics, and the ins and outs of everyday medieval life
into the fabric of her novels. If history texts were
written in such a fascinating way, I'm convinced that
every schoolchild would become a scholar." - CA
AN APOSTATE'S SINS...
As the nuns of St. Frideswide's priory prepare for
the welcome end of Lent, their peaceful expectations are
overset by the sudden return of long-vanished Sister
Cecely. Nine years ago she fled from the nunnery with a
man. Now her lover is dead and she has come back,
bringing her illegitimate son with her.
She claims she is penitent, that she wants only to
redeem her sin and find a safe haven for her child. By
the law of the Church, neither she nor the child can be
turned away, but their presence begins to stir doubts
and questions in the hearts of some of the nuns about
their own faithfulness to the enclosed life they live.
However, these doubts become the lease of the problems
Dame Frevisse must confront when her worldly troubles
follow Sister Cecely and her son into the nunnery,
pursuing her out of the life she claims to have left
Contrite Sister Cecely may be -- however much
Frevisse may doubt it -- but truthful she is not, and as
the apostate nun's lies begin to overtake her, dangers
of more than one kind become an unwanted part of life in
"Overflowing with atmospheric
details that make the complex historical setting come
alive for modern readers..." - BookLoons