2018 Lefty Award nominee for Best Historical Mystery Novel

In the winter of 1282, snow and ice ravage East Anglia while Prioress Eleanor awaits the decision of her young maid, Gracia, found starving on the streets some years ago, whether to take vows or to leave Tyndal Priory to make her way in the world.

But a far greater problem arrives at the priory gate. Seven abbots are riding to meet a papal legate in Norfolk. This is not a pilgrimage—each abbot hopes to make a case for being raised to a bishopric at the next vacancy. One abbot grows so ill the party has detoured to Tyndal. And despite the limited care Sister Anne can offer, Abbot Ilbert dies a horrible death, cause unknown. As his fellows prepare to resume their journey the next day, Abbot Tristram doubles over in great distress. By now the heavy snows have choked all the roads and the priory and village are marooned. Tristram dies. And then another abbot sickens while Sister Anne struggles to determine what killed these men—which question soon becomes not just what, but who did it?

One suspect is the gluttonous Odo, the ambitious Abbot of Caldwell and younger brother of Crowner Ralf. Since everyone despises Odo, is he simply a red herring? Prioress Eleanor is determined to stop the carnage that has shattered the tranquility in her priory while the Crowner must enforce the king's justice. Brother Thomas and Sister Anne form part of the investigation which plumbs the priory's kitchens and management as well as its medical facilities.

The Proud Sinner, 13th in the Medieval Mysteries by Priscilla Royal, illustrates medieval matters medical and culinary as well as vocations for the religious life in a framework that crosses Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

"Imagine an Agatha Christie mystery set in the late thirteenth century, and you'll have a pretty good picture of this very well executed mystery."—Booklist

It is Spring 1282. England is at war again with Wales. As Baron Hugh of Wynethorpe, a veteran of fighting in Outremer, prepares to join his King's army, he begs his sister, Prioress Eleanor, a favor. On her journey home to Tyndal Prior in Norfolk, she is to carry a gift of rents from the Wynethorpe estates to Mynchen Buckland Priory. The charter for the grant and a private letter are to be given to the Hospitaller nuns' Prioress Amicia, and none other. Eleanor agrees - if Hugh is heading into the Welsh wilderness, then she, Eleanor, will do him this service as well as pray for his protection.

When she and her party of Brother Thomas and Sister Anne arrive in cold and rain-sodden Somerset, they receive a chilly welcome. Then the new Prioress at Mynchen Buckland delivers shocking news: Amicia has been imprisoned, convicted of murdering a widow from the village in the priory's cloister, and awaits sentencing by the Prior of England, the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem's regional head in London. Eleanor gives Hugh's grant to newly elected Prioress Emelyne, but insists she must obey her brother's wishes by having an audience with Amicia in her cell. Eleanor is resolute in wishing to fulfill her promise by delivering Hugh's letter into Amicia's hands. Permission is granted.

Eleanor is unprepared for Amicia's terribly frail condition. And more so when Amicia reads the Baron's letter, then tearfully begs Tyndal's prioress to prove her innocence, claiming she did not commit the crime. Eleanor believes her.

In an unfamiliar place, the murder victim buried, and nothing left at the crime site, what can the Tyndal trio unearth? And how can they prolong their visit? Eleanor has it - she fakes a fall and injury to her ankle which requires nursing. Thomas and Anne will have to be her investigators, though they are closely chaperoned by members of the Mynchen Buckland community. Still, they learn the dead woman's unsavory behavior had made her well hated. Will anyone help uncover the real killer when so many welcomed the victim's death?

A medieval historical mystery perfect for readers of Denise Domning and Sharon Kay Penman!

Additional Praise for Wild Justice:
"...a good read for fans of medieval history and anyone interested in problems surprisingly relevant to modern life."—Kirkus Reviews
"Royal shows once again why she stands in the front rank of medieval mystery authors." —Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

A royal birth, a nobleman's death, and a scarlet woman's murderIn March 1279 Edward I takes a break from hammering the Welsh and bearing down on England's Jews to vacation in Gloucestershire. The royal party breaks the journey at Woodstock Manor. There, one life begins as the queen gives birth to a daughter and one draws to an end as apoplexy fells Baron Adam Wynethorpe.Hastening to the baron's deathbed is his eldest son, Hugh, a veteran of Edward's Crusades who can't shake off the battle horrors he has witnessed. The baron's daughter, Prioress Eleanor, has already arrived to tend to her father, bringing along her subinfirmarian, Sister Anne, and the monk Brother Thomas. Awaiting Hugh is his illegitimate son, Richard, a youth filled with rebellion-and a secret.The royal manor is packed with troubling guests, including a sinister priest, an elderly Jewish mother mourning a son hanged for the treason of coin-clipping, contentious and greedy courtiers, and a lusty wife engaged with more than one lover. Quite soon, the wife is found hanged. Prioress Eleanor and Sister Anne persuade the high sheriff of Berkshire that Mistress Hawis' death was not a suicide. In fact, many at the manor had reason to wish Hawis dead. And one of the suspects is Richard.In her twelfth novel, Royal once again "amplifies and deepens her series characters in the service of a clever plot that elevates her work to the top rank of historical mystery writers," as Publishers Weekly said in a starred review of Satan's Lullaby, the eleventh in a series recommended by Sharon Kay Penman and favorably compared to Ellis Peters' Cadfael books.
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