The Virgin in the Ice – Ellis Peters

The civil war has caused people to flee from the city of Worcester.  Word comes to the monks in Shrewsbury that two orphans of a noble family – a thirteen year old boy and his eighteen year old sister, a girl of remarkable beauty – along with their companion, a young nun, have been lost on their way out of Worcester. Brother Cadfael is thrown into the search for them.

A monk is found on the road, nearly dead, and his fevered ravings may lead them to the missing children.    But on the way, Cadfael happens open the scene of a gruesome murder, which leads him to believe there’s far more going on than just three missing young people.

This story does end up being very layered – a lot of stuff packed into such a slim volume.    I think that’s what I like so much about these books – there’s always a central mystery, but so much else is going on in the world of these stories- they’re so interesting to read.

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