Apprentice healer Lassair, who lives in the small Fenland village of Aelf Fen, makes a visit to her grandmother’s grave and is presented with yet another mystery.
Lassair’s granny is buried on an island in the fens. Lassair's visit reveals the body of a lovely young pregnant woman hidden in the grave. Lassair hurries to Lakehall, the home of the local lord Gilbert de Caudebec, who announces that Sir Alain de Villequier, a Norman lord, has recently been appointed Justiciar for the area. The dead girl is Ida, a talented seamstress beloved by most, who is visiting Lakehall with her mistress lady Claude de Seés, who is betrothed to Villequier. Lassair is not only a talented healer but also has some mystical powers; these, along with her curious nature, make her the perfect person to investigate the murder. A visit to Ida’s village reveals she was loved by an older married man, but he could not have been the father of her child. Lassair’s brother is in love with Zarina, whose large childlike brother adored Ida. Lady Claude seems devastated by the death, but she is in truth a strange woman who wanted to be a nun but was forced by her mother to accept Villequier. Lassair roams far and wide searching for clues, but more murderous attacks will occur before the truth is revealed.
Clare’s Aelf Fen series (Mist Over the Water, 2009, etc.) offers a charming combination of the mysterious and mystical; the third volume continues in the same vein.