FORTUNE LIKE THE MOON (Historical Mystery-England-1100s) – G+ Clare, Ayls – 1st in series
Hodder & Stoughton, 1999- Hardcover

Josse d’Acquin has been sent, by King Richard Plantagenet, to Hawkenlye Abbey. Hawkenlye was designed by Richard’s mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and is run by a woman, the Abbess Helewise. Richard, at the decision of this Mother, had all prisoners released in celebration of Richard’s coronation. Now a young nun has been brutally murdered and Josee is sent to find the killer and do damage control should the killer be one of the released prisoners.

Clare clearly knows her history and embedded it in the story in a way that is fascinating, but not distracting. The dialogue is very well done, not written in the vernacular of the time but with the influence in its cadence. Josse and Abbess Helewise are interesting characters although we don’t learn a lot about them. There are plenty of twists and turns to the story but my biggest quibble is the manner of the victim’s death—it’s a bit implausible. I very much enjoyed the book and shall definitely continue on with the series.

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