MicroReview: The Novice’s Tale
The Novice’s Tale is the first in the ongoing series of Sister Frevisse mysteries, featuring a fifteenth-century English nun who also happens to be the great-niece (by marriage) of Geoffrey Chaucer. Intrigued? I was, and am glad to have made the acquaintance of this shrewd, witty, and wise hosteler of St. Frideswide. In this first novel, murder accompanies an arrogant guest at the monstery, just weeks before the community’s only novice takes her vows, and Sister Frevisse must reveal the murderer to remove the novice from suspicion. Believable characters, a fun plot, and an unusual historical setting make for quick, enjoyable reading with a contemplative bent. Fun fact: the series was created by two women writing under the penname of Margaret Frazer, but partway through the series one writer moved on and the other has retained the name and continued alone—for the better, say some reviewers. I’ll let you know if I agree as I make my way through the series. The seventeenth volume, The Apostate’s Tale, released last year.