Books by Roberta Gellis

CHAINS OF FOLLY by Roberta Gellis
Released: April 15, 2006

"The extensive roll call of historical and fictional characters is occasionally bewildering, but marvelous Magdalene and stout-hearted Bell make the effort to keep them straight well worthwhile."
Those who meddle in the affairs of kings, especially in 12th-century London, are apt to end up dead. Read full book review >
A PERSONAL DEVIL by Roberta Gellis
Released: March 1, 2001

"A host of well-drawn characters and a mass of historical detail make this 12th-century adventure entertaining despite its hopelessly confusing mishmash of a plot."
In all of Southwark, there's no more skilled saddlemaker than Master Mainard, married to shrewish Bertrild but deeply in love with Sabina, the blind whore who lives in the Old Priory Guesthouse, a brothel run by beautiful Magdalene la Bâtarde (A Mortal Bane, 1999). Mainard has installed Sabina in his home, but it seems to all the better part of discretion for Sabina to return to the Guesthouse after Bertrild is found stabbed to death in the back yard. Ensconced in the Old Priory, Sir Bellamy of Itchen (commonly called Bell), an emissary of the Bishop of Winchester and Magdalene's besotted admirer, is attempting to find Bertrild's killer. At length Bell reduces the list of likely suspects to the five men who ply their trade in the area of Mainard's workshop, from which the murder weapon had been stolen. But Bell's investigation is further complicated by the news that Bertrild had been doing a thriving business in blackmail; by a second killing; and by the arrival of Bertrild's uncle Sir Druerie, with his own decided ideas about the murderer's identity.Read full book review >
A MORTAL BANE by Roberta Gellis
Released: Sept. 10, 1999

In 12th-century London, the Bishop of Winchester, head of St. Mary Overy Church, has made a most unusual pact with Magdalene la Batarde, a widow who rents from him the church's Old Priory Guesthouse next door. There she runs a quiet, elegant whorehouse whose staff includes blind Sabina, slightly simple Ella, mute Letice, and deaf cook Dulcie. Magdalene no longer plies her trade, but a steady, wealthy clientele keeps the house prosperous. Onto this peaceful scene comes a handsome stranger—by misdirection, it appears—who turns out to be papal messenger Baldassare de Firenze. In the very early morning he's found, stabbed to death, on the porch of the church next door, and the fanatically pure Sacristan Paulinus accuses the women of murder. The Bishop of Winchester appoints Sir Bellamy of Itchen (more often called Bell), his right-hand man, to investigate the killing and to find the pouch the dead man was carrying. Matters grow more complex with the discovery of' thefts from the church's collection of gold and silver objects. The denouement, when it finally arrives, makes a heroine of Magdalene but carries little conviction. Burdened with endless details of church rituals and politics and a set of rather dull minor characters, this first mystery by fantasist Gellis is heavy-going despite its intriguing heroine. Read full book review >