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Friday 8 May 2015
‘A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary’ by Donna Fletcher Crow
Published by Greenbrier Book Company.
Felicity Howard is looking forward to going back to Oxford to translate a medieval document for the sisters of the convent of the Love of God, especially as her fiancé, Father Antony Sherwood, will also be going to Oxford, a few days after Felicity, bringing a group of his students for a study group. Felicity had studied classics at Keble College, Oxford, and is looking forward to revisiting the places she had loved as a student.
Although Antony is also looking forward to his visit to Oxford, his pleasure is dimmed by the sudden, serious illness of his uncle. Antony's aunt and uncle had cared for him and his older sister after their parents' deaths. Reconnecting with his aunt and his sister (whom Felicity meets and befriends in Oxford) causes Antony to reassess his memories of his childhood and realise that things are not always as a grieving child remembers them.
The medieval document that Felicity is going to translate is centred around St Frideswide and she arrives in time to take part in a ceremony to celebrate the saint's feast day. Mother Monica, the Reverend Mother of the convent, is unexpectedly absent, but Felicity accompanies her deputy to the service, bearing with them a holy relic, the hand of another saint, that will be laid in a side altar and unveiled for the faithful at the end of the service. However, when the reliquary is opened, Felicity sees that the relic within it is not the well-preserved remains of a long-dead saint but a freshly severed hand.
As Felicity tries to discover who is behind the violent abomination, she finds herself involved in further terrible discoveries and violent deaths and she herself is soon in mortal danger.
This book is the fourth in the Monastery Murders series. It is an intriguing mixture of religious history, High Church tradition, romance and crime. Felicity and Antony are engaging protagonists and it is a very enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 12 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to:
Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher. She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames. Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times. The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.