It's really this week's random read. And I'm pleased to say I have forgotten whodunnit.
I had read some of this author's historical novels, written under her real name, Edith Pargeter,before discovering Brother Cadfael, but she had also written contemporary crime fiction as Ellis Peters before. She combined her crime and historical fiction skills and behold! Mediaeval crime fiction!
I love the series, which is gentle, though I'd wince at calling the novels cosies. They're not. They're historical fiction set in a violent era when King Stephen and Empress Maud were battling it out for the crown of England, and though the folk of Shrewsbury seem to mostly live in peace, they are still affected by the war going on around them - in fact, the first novel, One Corpse Too Many, is set immediately after Stephen has besieged Shrewsbury and executed a large number of men he considers traitors. The crime is woven into the history. It goes over a number of years - this one is set in 1143, when Geoffrey De Mandeville was looting and burning in the Fen country.
The BBC TV series with Derek Jacobi was pretty faithful to the books, as far as a telemovie could be faithful to a novel and Derek Jacobi perfect for the role. The author herself said she would always imagine him as Cadfael from then on.
There were 20 books in the series before Edith Pargeter's death. Reading the final one I knew that it was intended to be the last. She could have written more, nobody died, but it felt like the last. Loose ends were tied up and the story was a personal one, about Cadfael and his son. It was sad to now there would be no more, but as the author died not long after, it was probably just as well. No frustrating unfinished novels or cliffhangers.
I may just go back and re-read the lot!