The groom to be, Huon de Domville was rich, aging and overbearing. His affianced, Iveta de Massard, was 18 years old, beautiful, and tiny like a little doll hemmed in by her minders who had made the bargain for her marriage. The whole of Shrewsbury turned out to see them arrive for the wedding, with their separate entourages, including the unfortunate lepers of Saint Giles.
Iveta is the heiress to a vast estate and with her parents dead, her greedy guardians will squeeze as much out of her and her estates for themselves as they can. Although appearing completely compliant, Iveta is secretly in love with Jocelyn Lucy, one of Huon de Domville’s squires, and he is madly in love with her.
When Jocelyn is dismissed from service for a crime he didn’t commit, he goes into hiding to avoid the law (he would have no chance of stopping the wedding if under lock and key). So, when de Domville is brutally murdered the night before the wedding, the Sherriff’s most obvious suspect is of course Jocelyn.
Without even knowing where Jocelyn has been so successfully hiding, Cadfael sets out to discover the truth and clear Jocelyn’s name. Cadfael finds out where de Domville was riding the night before his wedding, and we get our first introduction to Avice of Thornbury. We also get to know a seventy year old leper who has led a remarkable life.
This is a fantastic Cadfael mystery (one of the best). I absolutely loved the characters of the aging leper, and of Avice, who appears again in future novels. Brother Mark, now working at Saint Giles is also a very endearing character. I can’t wait to continue reading the rest of the series.
Book Published 1981