The Sanctity of Hate: A Medieval Mystery by Priscilla Royal

The Sanctity of Hate by Priscilla RoyalReviewed by Teri Davis

Tyndal Priory enjoys its peaceful existence as part of the Fontevraudine priory on the remote East Anglican coast in the year of 1276. A young applicant from the local village would like to be admitted into the priory as a novice but Sister Ruth definitely does not believe he is sincere. The father of the applicant seems to especially want his son as part of the church offering a gold candlestick and as a baker, bread for the hospital one day each month. The son seems to have some strong feelings against the Jewish people. Is this an example of a father teaching his son to hate a group of people? Why?

During this time Queen Eleanore being widowed from her husband, King Edward, recently expelled the Jewish people from Cambridge. Previously, Edward only allowed those who were Jewish live only in particular English towns. Due to usury, now this group of people found themselves hated by much of the general population.

The dead body of a man is found on the priory ground in the pond by the mill. When examined the dead man’s throat was slit, skull was fractured, and his body was obviously drowned in the water. Which one really killed him? Also this man had been hired to guard a Jewish family who were passing through the town but were delayed because of the birth of their child. The obvious suspect is the father since much of England hates the Jews.
Both Prioress Eleanor and Cr owner Ralf are fearful that the village will attack the young Jewish family so they agree that the family needs another guard. However when the guard is attacked, the village is certain that they are to blame. Their only hope is to trust the Prioress and the Crowner in discovering who is the real killer.

The Sanctity of Hate is an extremely well-written tale teaching about history while having the characters solve a mystery. This book actually has the reader in the year 1276 understanding the prejudices and the people of this time period. By focusing on many of the everyday events inside this mystery thoroughly makes the plot more believable and realistic.

The author, Priscilla Royal, has written numerous medieval mysteries featuring Prioress Eleanor. Previously she retired from being a civil servant and now writes full-time. She also believes that mysteries should be written without extreme violence.

When you read The Sanctity of Death, you truly are transported to another time and place. Even though this book is part of a series, these books can be read alone or as part of the series. Read this one and then the others or begin with The Wine of Violence and read all of the books in this historically accurate and thoroughly enjoyable series.

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