Medieval Forensics

People murdered each other in the Middle Ages.  How did a medieval detective go about finding the murderer?  Many authors have written medieval murder mysteries and if the Brother Cadfael mysteries are anything to go by, medieval forensics were a primitive, but burgeoning science. Some things that a medieval detective could determine: Time of death:  […]


Leprosy was one of the scourges of the Middle Ages–not so much because of scale, but because when a person caught it, their community cast them out.  The lazar house in the Brother Cadfael books, St. Giles, plays a significant role in the series.  In the movie, Kingdom of Heaven, Baldwin IV of Jerusalem is […]

Great Historical Fiction/Fantasy Novels

History is anthroplogy for the past.  Great historical fiction brings you into that past world and makes it accessible.  Would life in thirteenth century Wales chew me up and spit me out?  No doubt.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t spend many happy hours living there.  I am also partial to the fantasy element of […]

Brother Cadfael’s Penance (review)

Ellis Peters began her Brother Cadfael series in 1977 with A Morbid Taste for Bones. Twenty books later, she wrote Brother Cadfael’s Penance, my personal favorite.  She saved the best for last, as she died in October, 1995. Ellis Peters was the nom de plume of Edith Pargeter.  Although she began the Brother Cadfael mysteries towards […]

Introducing . . . The Good Knight (A Medieval Mystery)

Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales… The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king.  But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride’s brother tasks his […]

Wisdom Teeth

Although within fiction and movies, there is a sense that hygiene was poor and few people lived into adulthood with all their teeth intact, people did care for their teeth in the Middle Ages.  Herbs and mouthwashes existed that allowed people to do so: At the same time, it is certainly true that tooth extraction […]