England, summer 1452
Near the high altar the south aisle was given over to scaffolding, stone dust, and workmen; the summer morning’s heavy sunlight pouring unobstructed through the gaping hole in the wall that would some day be a stone-mullioned window of richly stained glass; and the crane with its ropes and pulleys still straddled Lady Alice’s stone tomb chest from yesterday’s lowering into place of the stone slab that was its top, complete with a full-length carving of Lady Alice lying in prayerful repose, gazing serenely up to heaven.
Presently, though, Lady Alice was anything but prayerful, serene, or reposed as she demanded at her master mason. ‘He’s gone? Just gone? He was here yesterday and now, like that, he’s gone?’
When I read The Apostate’s Tale, I wondered whether that would be the last in this wonderful series, but now here in this short story is Frevisse in her new role as Domina Frevisse, the Mother Superior.
Actually, we don’t really see her in action in her new role. When the story opens she is visiting her cousin, Lady Alice, the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, and she seems quite unchanged, the Frevisse we have always known and (usually) loved.
Lady Alice is busy supervising the construction of her tomb – well in advance, she hopes, so that she can enjoy it while still able to. For it is a work of art, the stone-carvings of the angels quite out of this world. Only … the stone-carver has disappeared. And with him, one of the Duchess’s younger ladies-in-waiting.
Have they simply eloped, young and in love, the heart overruling the brain?
Or has something more sinister occurred?
Frevisse, predictably, begins to wonder.
If you are already a Frevisse fan, don’t miss this. It is available as a download either for the Nook Reader (Barnes & Noble) or the Kindle Reader (Amazon). On the other hand, if you have never read one of Margaret Frazer’s Frevisse novels, start with this short story then go back to the beginning and read them all. (I am jealous. I wish I had that still to do …)
[This review is being published simultaneously on MedievalMysteries.com ]