In this 13th installment of the Brother Cadfael series, the Benedictine Abbey of Saints Peter and Paul is disturbed by yet another murder — and this time the victim is one of their own. Judith Perle, a young widow, rents a valuable cottage to the abbey in exchange for a single white rose to be paid from its garden once a year. Brother Eluric is charged with delivering the rose, but a few days before payment is due, he is found dead in the cottage garden. Moreover, the rosebush has been disfigured, its branches hacked off. As the monks mourn Brother Eluric’s death, Cadfael wonders who could have done such a terrible deed. His investigation ultimately centers around Judith Perle, whose wealth and beauty have attracted several new suitors. Because of the cottage’s value, any man who married Judith would want it to be included in her dowry; and if the abbey failed to pay the rose rent, the cottage would return to Judith’s estate without restrictions. As Cadfael searches for Brother Eluric’s killer among the men in Judith’s life, a kidnapping and a second murder ultimately reveal the culprit.
It’s hard to believe that a series could still be good after 13 books, but this latest installment of the Cadfael series was just as enjoyable to me as the first book. There’s a definite formula to this series: there’s almost always a romantic subplot, and the real-life historical events of the era occasionally impinge on Cadfael and the other inhabitants of Shrewsbury. But if you enjoy this formula, which I do, you’ll love the series! I always recommend starting with book one, [A Morbid Taste for Bones], but I think you could read this book without missing any key information and without spoilers for the earlier books. As for this novel in particular, I really don’t have much else to say about it! Simply put, I liked it and will continue with the series. Only seven more books to go!
6 thoughts on “Review: The Rose Rent”
Awesome that you’re going through all of the Brother Cadfael books! I should do that one of these days, but glad to know that the books are still going good & strong 13 books in 😉
To be honest, I’ve been reading the series in order for years! I usually just read one or two per year and savor them. They are all very similar, so I don’t want to ruin the series by reading too many at once!
Oh, yes, Father Cadfael books are the best. You are much more restrained. I’m on my 10th Miss Marple since Feb – apparently I have much less restraint than you. It’s so fun to ‘discover’ a great series all ready and finished for us to read years later.
Haha, yay for Miss Marple! I went through a huge Agatha Christie phase in my early teens and binge-read my way through most of her books. I still love to re-read them on occasion!
It is very impressive for a series to stay good for that long! I haven’t read any historical mysteries, but I really should. I like the idea of that genre blending.
Mysteries and historical fiction are probably my two favorite genres, so any book that blends the two is automatically exciting to me! I especially like mysteries set during the 19th century…the basic concept of “Jane Austen, but with murder” is really appealing! 🙂