The Potter’s Field (Brother Cadfael #17) ★★★☆☆

pottersfield (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Potter’s Field
Series: Brother Cadfael #17
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 248
Format: Digital Edition



Cadfael’s Abbey trades a field with another Abbey and in the process of plowing it, turn up the remains of a woman.

A newly minted monk at Shrewsbury took the vows against his wife’s wishes and she disappeared, thought to have run off to Wales with a lover. Now the suspicion is on him. Until a novitiate turns up with a story about seeing the woman just a couple of weeks ago, with her ring to prove it. Then another woman is shown to have disappeared and her lover is arrested. The same novitiate proves that the woman is alive and sets the scoundrel free.

It all turns out that the woman was the monk’s wife but she died due to the novitiates father and mother. It wasn’t murder and there was no foul play. It was complicated enough that even Hugh Beringar says that God will sort out everyone’s motives.


My Thoughts:

I found this to be one of the more complicated mysteries, mainly because of the various motivations and lack of malice aforethought. And yet I certainly can’t agree with the author’s thoughts, presented through Cadfael, Hugh and the Father Abbot, that everything was ok in the end. There was no justice. The mother of the novitiate did cause the death of the wife of the monk, even if hatred wasn’t involved.

These last couple of Cadfael books I have found myself disagreeing with the author more and more about how justice gets carried out and just what is the law. If you cause someone else’s death, even if they agree to it, that is still killing someone. The price of a life is the life of the one who took it or, if there was no forethought and hatred, banishment for life. Someone who pre-meditates and then carries out a killing is not someone who deserves to live. That is a cancer that must be cut out, not a cold that gets treated with soft tissues and extra fluids.

Mercy misplaced or misapplied is as bad as no mercy at all.




4 thoughts on “The Potter’s Field (Brother Cadfael #17) ★★★☆☆

  1. Wow, I can’t keep up with your reading, although I’ve had so little time to do any of it lately, it makes me want to cry. At least I get to read about OTHER people reading though, huh? :-Z I started reading the Cadfael mysteries about three years ago but only got through about 3. I plan to get back to them one day. I’m curious … are you finding Peters’ life philosophy (through Cadfael) is changing with the later novels or is it just becoming more apparent?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, life’s been a bit odd these past 2 months and when life gets that way, I tend to pull back from almost everything. Which gives me time to read a lot more. And hence review more.
      The biggest change was taking a break from reading other peoples’ blogs this month. I figure that is probably worth a good 2-4 books extra right there. But come March I’ll be going back to reading and commenting on others and so my own reading should slow down.
      What has been keeping you so busy? I would have thought that winter in Canada would shut a lot of options down.

      As for Cadfael. I had to take a break a while ago until I found a good rotation system. One of them once every 2 months seems doable now. To answer your question, I think it is simply becoming more apparent and not changing at all. I’m also wondering if I went back and re-read the earlier ones if I’d pick up on some of these “issues” now that I’ve noticed them. Of course, that is just not going to happen. I’m not enjoying them nearly enough to think about re-reading them 😀


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