Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Morbid Taste for Bones, by Ellis Peters

No, A Morbid Taste for Bones is not a horror book and it's in no way a part of the current zombie craze. It's actually the first book of the Cadfael mystery series. In case you've never run into this series in its television incarnation, Cadfael is the name of a monk who solves murders. The show is a lot of fun and popular among those who've seen it. I enjoy a good mystery series, so I thought I'd give the first book a try.

Cadfael became a monk in later life after participating in the Crusades and having several love affairs, so he's a lot more worldly than your average monk. It's probably why he's prone to looking at situations more practically and why he's willing to examine bodies and investigate murders. In A Morbid Taste for Bones, Cadfael travels as part of a group of monks to claim the bones of a Welsh saint. As a Welsh man himself, he has sympathy for the villagers who would rather not give up their saint. The first half of the book focuses on this conflict, and then a murder complicates matters a great deal.

The best thing about A Morbid Taste for Bones is it had a Pillars of the Earth quality--it's set around the same time, and of course there are the monks. If you haven't read Pillars, stop reading this review and go buy it. And read it. Now. Don't look at the jacket description, either. You just can't get a sense of how engrossing that book is by reading the description, trust me. Just read it.

Anyway, back to Cadfael. The book was sleepy; not exactly a page-turner, I'm afraid. If all I had to do was read I might have enjoyed it more, but these days I squeeze precious minutes out of my day here and there for books, often only reading a page or two at night right before going to sleep. So it felt a little like I was wasting my time when I could have been reading a really fascinating book like Pillars of the Earth, for instance. Don't get me wrong, it was a pleasant book, but I won't be buying the next one until I'm really desperate for another book to read.

However, if you're just looking for a light mystery and you enjoy period pieces set in the 12th century, give A Morbid Taste for Bones a try. You can buy it here.

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