by Ellis Peters
After that business with the lady trumpeter and all that, I guess I was put in the mood for more mysteries. I grabbed this one on sale a while ago, so I thought I’d go ahead and break it out now. I’ve read Cadfael novels before, and find them oddly relaxing—one reviewer on Goodreads called them “cozy.” And I guess that fits pretty well.
Cadfael is a Benedictine monk, living in an abbey connected to the town of Shrewsbury in, oh, 1136 or such like. When he’s not puttering around in his herb garden, or boiling up various elixirs and salves, he tends to end up solving unexplained murders, which seem to happen with alarming frequency for a sleepy town tucked away on the Welsh border. But so it is with mysteries, I suppose. In any event, the rhythm of these stories is quite nice, even under the cloud of, you know, murder.
He’s even got some superpowers—he’s a Welshman, so he speaks a language few English do, and before he became a monk, he was a soldier. He fought in the First Crusade, and worked in the east as a sailor, apparently, before coming back to Wales. So he’s seen the world, and is able to move between the secular and sacred worlds fairly easily, and sometimes mediate between the two.