The Clerk's Tale

A Dame Frevisse Mystery

Book 11
Sold by Penguin
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St. Mary’s nunnery is a place of prayer and healing for women—so it is surprising to see a man sprawled out in the cloister garden. Dead. Less surprising, to Dame Frevisse, was the identity of the victim. Master Montfort was not particularly liked by anyone in the town of Goring—even his own wife and clerk. As royal escheator, he was trying to settle a heated inheritance dispute between a wealthy woman and her supposed nephew.
Now Dame Frevisse must step in and untangle the fortunes and felonies in this complicated case of political and familial rivalries. But her real challenge is to put aside her feelings and serve justice for the murder of an unjust man.
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About the author

Margaret Frazer was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Original Paperback for both The Servant’s Tale and The Prioress’ Tale. The Sister Frevisse series includes The Novice’s Tale, The Servant’s Tale, The Outlaw’s Tale, The Bishop’s Tale, The Boy’s Tale, The Murderer’s Tale, The Prioress’ Tale, The Maiden’s Tale, The Reeve’s Tale, and The Squire’s Tale. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Additional Information

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Published on
Dec 3, 2002
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Fiction / Crime
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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To the guests at the mourning feast for Thomas Chaucer, the last words of Sir Clement Sharpe had been enough to damn him in the eyes of God. Detested by all who knew him, his final blasphemy had turned even God's anger against him and his death would be a lesson well-remembered. None among them would ever forget the sight of God striking down a sinning man, and each would keep in their heart the need to honor God's charity and love in all the hours of their lives.

But the crafty Dame Frevisse and cunning Bishop Beaufort suspect that there may be an all-too-mortal hand at work in Sir Clement's death. If their suspicions can be proved, then the only lesson to be learned is the bleakest secret of the blackest heart.


"The setting for another tale of mystery, intrigue, jealousy and ambition, well drawn, well paced, and a pleasure to read." - Historical Novels Review

"Rich period detail, canny characterization, and a lively plot should endear Sister Frevisse and her tales to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries." - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Truly this is a winter's tale, wintry in setting and in themes. The most powerful emotions are chilled and subdued: Cool authority, icy determination, cold despair - these are stronger than the widow's stormy, self-pitying grief, the petulant anger of a pair of young lovers, the heat of a proud man's anger, and the fiery rash which clutches and kills him." - Jeanne M. Jacobson, Drood Review of Mystery


"Frazer is writing one of the most consistently excellent historical series in print today." - Murder Ink

"Frazer successfully captures the essence of 15th century England - the sights, smells, and sounds fill the pages, drawing us in as we become immersed in the language, manners, and customs of a far off time and place." - Rendezvous

"Dame Frevisse, the pious and perspective nun gives focus to this sober series... [Frazer] shows a meticulous detail that speaks of trustworthy scholarship and a sympathetic imagination." - New York Times Book Review

"Once you begin to read this series, you will want to follow your new friends to the end of their personal story." - Cross Point Book Reviews
"Exquisitely written... A superbly researched medieval mystery series!" - Publisher's Weekly
"Everything about it bespeaks quality and care... Frazer draws us into a medieval village in England with a story of lust, greed, and murder." - St. Paul Pioneer Press

A Romantic Times Top Pick.

Twice nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.
Twice nominated for the Edgar Award.

“A first-rate tale of crime and punishment that will keep readers guessing until the final pages.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Caleb Carr’s rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us.”—The Detroit News

When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.

Praise for The Alienist

“[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Mesmerizing.”—Detroit Free Press

“The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller—way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller.”—The Buffalo News


“A ripsnorter of a plot . . . a fine dark ride.”—The Arizona Daily Star

“Remarkable . . . The reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of the Gilded Age metropolis, climbing up tenement stairs, scrambling across rooftops, and witnessing midnight autopsies. . . . A breathtaking, finely crafted mystery.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch 

“Gripping, atmospheric . . . intelligent and entertaining.”—USA Today

“A high-spirited, charged-up and unfailingly smart thriller.”—Los Angeles Times

“Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime.”—San Francisco Chronicle 

“Harrowing, fascinating . . . will please fans of Ragtime and The Silence of the Lambs.”—The Flint Journal

Caught under the tyrannical thumb of her new prioress, Dame Frevisse finds welcome relief in leaving St. Frideswide nunnery on pilgrimage. But the road brings with it unwelcome company: The wealthy Lionel Knyvet has been possessed by a foul demon. Seeking relief from the horrific terrors visited upon his body each fortnight, Lionel has dragged his entire household on an endless pilgrimage across the breadth and length of England. Frevisse wants nothing more than the peaceful bliss of travel, but must instead endure the incessant chattering of a mob.

Lionel's possession, however, may only mask a darker sin. When the pilgrims make their way to the manor house at Minster Lovell, Frevisse begins to unwind the bitter poisons of jealousy and betrayal eating at the hearts of both Lionel and his brother Giles. Against her will, the innocent nun is drawn into the vilest depths of the human soul and there she unlocks the mysteries of a blackened heart. But even when the truth comes out, can justice be done? The pure of heart will find no peace when murder and death come knocking at the manor's door...


"Frazer has created the most despicable villain since Iago." - Patricia W. Julius, Detective as Historian

"Historical readers will be charmed with the story; feminists will be delighted with the strong female characters. Ellis Peters has a worthy successor in Margaret Frazer." - Meritorious Mysteries

"Expertly captures the flavor of the period with vivid descriptions and creates dimensional characters true to the times." - Rendezvous

"A diabolically smooth and logical frame-up... Frazer springs substantial surprises. A moving portrait of how afflictions torment body and mind and a meditation on selfless friendship. It's a treat, with memorable characters and a thoughtful, bittersweet ending." - S.M. Tyson, The Armchair Detective


"Within the graceful prose rhythms that have garnered her two Edgar nominations, Frazer's tale of 15th-century nun Dame Frevisse transports the reader to a medieval England made vivid and a world of emotions as familiar then as now." - Publisher's Weekly

"Mystery... Suspense... Frazer executes with audacity and ingenuity." - Kirkus Reviews
"Margaret Frazer is on a rip. Each book is better and stronger than the last, and it's almost a privilege to be on the journey as the skillful Frazer takes her heroine, Dame Frevisse, all over Britain solving crimes." - Aunt Agatha's

"There is action aplenty and intrigue in abundance." - Historical Novels Review

A Romantic Times Top Pick.
Twice nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.
Twice nominated for the Edgar Award.

Her mother had always been afraid. That's what Damaris remembered. From the time she was a little girl until the day her mother died, she had seen the fear in her eyes.

But now she understood. Now she was afraid, too.

Young Damaris wanted more than anything to be happy at Thornoak, the ancient manor owned by her aunt and uncle. Adventuring through the wide, open beauty of the Dale in the company of her rambunctious cousins she rediscovered a joy she had thought lost with the death of her parents. And in the deep, storm-tossed eyes of Lauran Ashbrigg she was surprised to find an entirely new emotion.

But even under the warm and inviting sun, Damaris is chilled by the undeniable fact that the family which claims to welcome and love her is hiding truths from her: The truth of the Lady Stone. The truth of the Old Ways. The truth of moon and star and witchcraft.

The truth of her mother's death.


"Exquisitely written, the novel offers a brilliantly realized vision... Suspenseful from start to surprising conclusion, this is another gem from an author who's twice been nominated for an Edgar." -Publisher's Weekly

"Love the passionate attention to detail in character, custom, and setting, and the sympathetic creation of believable people and events. Essential." - Library Journal of New York

"A lovingly told story, rich with fascinating description. Ms. Frazer provides a real treat for lovers of all things." - Toby Bromberg, Romantic Times

"The writing is seamless... Rich period detail, canny characterization, and a lively plot should endear her tales to anyone..." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Mystery... Suspense... Frazer executes with audacity and ingenuity." - Kirkus Reviews

"Weaves a budding romance and a grand, unrequited passion with a bold and dangerous plot... Great fun for all!" - Alfred Hitchcock Magazine

"Frazer's books will be among those I read as soon as I see them." - Houston Facts

Twice nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.
Twice nominated for the Edgar Award.
A Romantic Times Top Pick.
A Herodotus Award Winner.


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