The Servant's Tale

A Dame Frevisse Mystery

Book 2
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Sister Frevisse is sinfully good at discerning the mysteries of the soul—and solving the crimes of the human heart in this charming series.

It's Christmastime, and the sisters of St. Frideswide cannot turn away travellers, even the players knocking at the nunnery door. But along with the motley troupe comes the grievously wounded husband of the cloister's scullery maid, Meg. They swear they found the drunken wastrel in a ditch, but the tale sounds like another song and dance. Especially when two dead bodies are waiting in the wings....

Now Sister Frevisse must find out if one of the actors is a murderer in masquerade—or face a very unmerry Yuletide season.

From the Paperback edition.
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About the author

Margaret Frazer is the author of the Sister Frevisse Medieval Mysteries, including The Servant's Tale and The Prioress' Tale, which were both finalists for the Edgar Award for Best Original Paperback. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From the Paperback edition.
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7 total

Additional Information

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Published on
Nov 1, 1993
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Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Fiction / Religious
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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.

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.



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.
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