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Justice for the Damned: A Medieval Mystery    by Priscilla Royal order for
Justice for the Damned
by Priscilla Royal
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Justice for the Damned is the fourth novel in Priscilla Royal's medieval mystery series. In May of 1272, Prioress Eleanor returns to Amesbury Priory after a near fatal illness. She plans to visit her aunt, Sister Beatrice, at the Abbey and regain her strength. Brother Thomas accompanies her on her voyage with a mission of his own to discover who plans to steal a valuable Psalter.

Eleanor must not only cope with the dregs of her illness but with her desire for Brother Thomas. Her musings about her feelings for the good brother are interrupted by a murder. A man is found decapitated by the river. His very own son is suspected of the vile crime.

A brother is murdered at the Abbey with the Psalter that was at the center of Brother Thomas's quest clasped to his breast. There have been sightings of a ghost that is terrifying the nearby villagers. And a young girl threatens to enter the cloister if she is not allowed to marry the man of her choice.

The plot is tight and well-planned while the pace is a bit slow. That can be forgiven for the wealth of the history of the times that oozes from every page. Marital sex is discussed by the villagers and the religious as though it were the weather. Upon reflection, I realized that life in that period was precarious at best, times were hard, and sex was not hidden in the shadows.

Justice for the Damned is a prize plum for the history buff. And if mysteries are also your bag, you have hit nirvana.

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