Cassandra Clark lives in London. Her childhood, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, was her inspiration for the Abbess of Meaux series.
The 14th century was a dismal historical period; the plague wiped out one-third of the population of Europe, and England and France battled in the Hundred Years' War. It is during the winter of 1383 that Abbess Hildegaard, a wise and determined nun, sets out on a perilous quest to bring a sacred relic from Rome back to York (where the archbishop believes that it belongs). Along the way, a man is found murdered, but when Hildegaard questions the young man suspected of the crime, she is convinced of his innocence, andÅhis story becomes intertwined with her journey. VerdicT A medieval nun who solves mysteries may seem unusual, but Hildegaard proves to be a perceptive, prudent, and entirely believable character. In this second installment after Hangman Blind, medieval Europe comes alive with Clark's vivid descriptions of historical settings. Fresh, memorable characters and well-researched background offset a rather overused story line. For historical fiction and mystery fans, and readers who miss Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael. [Library marketing campaign.]-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
'The 14th century is a fine backdrop for Clark's Abbess of Meaux series ...Clark's worldly nun has a degree of freedom other women of the period wouldn't have enjoyed and her arduous journey across the Alps is presented in convincing detail' -- Sunday Times 'Really engrossing storyline ... a real joy to read... I didn't want this book to end and I will have no hesitation in including it in my top five best reads of 2009. May this author write many more novels of this high quality in the future' -- Eurocrime 'Clark's central character is certainly memorable, and the story woven around her in this, the second of the author's Abbess of Meaux mysteries, is well plotted and meticulously researched ... this unusual murder mystery is a fascinating read ... a great addition to the sleuthing fraternity!' -- Press Association 'Cleverly plotted, this is a gripping novel full of twists and turns, bright with colour and fascinating period detail that brings a turbulent period of history to life' -- Choice Magazine 'History leaps out of the pages in vibrant colours, danger is at every hand, mystery piles upon mystery and you willingly succumb to the enticement of Cassandra Clark's writing' -- Northern Echo 'Every bit as absorbing as the first ... Clark is proving highly adept at bringing medieval history to life, and The Red Velvet Turnshoe adds considerably to her growing reputation' -- Yorkshire Evening Post 'Reader are taken on a perilous journey through Flanders and France over the Alps through St Bernard Pass onto Florence, all the time threatened by spies and killers determined to stop her' -- Folkestone Herald & Dover Express 'Clark's central character is certainly memorable ... well plotted and meticulously researched ... this highly unusual murder mystery is a fascinating read' -- Dundee Courier & Advertiser 'Hildegard is back! ... this is a well-written historical tale, with a depth of detail which allows the reader to immerse themselves in the fourteenth century ... the book skilfully weaves a complex plot with the rich period background and brings the whole story to life with vivid descriptions and a cast of roguish characters ... highly recommended' -- Mystery Woman 'The second in the series of cleverly plotted medieval mysteries, full of twists and turns' -- Sainsbury's Magazine 'Clark is one of the most sure-footed practitioners of this difficult genre.' -- The Independant
Set in 1383, Clark's compelling second historical (after Feb. 2009's Hangman Blind) takes Sister Hildegard, healer and sleuth, to Italy on a secret mission "to bring back the legendary cross of Constantine," a powerful relic coveted by the archbishop of York. In the guise of a pilgrim, Hildegard joins an armed baggage train that includes a shipment of wool. When the stinking corpse of a clerk with his throat slashed turns up in a crate of wool on the travelers' arrival in Flanders, Hildegard has to wonder who would want to murder a lowly clerk. With England in the middle of the Hundred Years' War and Europe divided between rival popes, everyone's allegiances and loyalties are uncertain. The author paints an authentic picture of late medieval life as Hildegard journeys from the Yorkshire moors to thriving Flemish towns and on to alpine passes leading to the wealth of early Renaissance Italy. Enough questions remain at the end to leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment. (Dec.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.