A second, even smoother medieval adventure for Brother Cadfael (A Morbid Taste for Bones)--once a Crusader and man of the world, now an accomplished herbalist at the monastery in 12th-century Shrewsbury, a town racked by civil war. King Stephen has conquered, his enemies have all been massacred, but--while preparing these nameless bodies for Christian burial--Cadfael finds one to be the victim of a more personal sort of murder. So he tries to identify both victim and murderer. . . while aiding two heroic young people on the lam. And his ambivalent cohort in detection is valiant Hugh Beringar, whose hand-to-hand combat with the murderer wraps things up with a zing. Peters (who writes full-blown historicals as Edith Pargeter) makes the most of the medieval atmosphere, but she never lets the meticulously researched place-and-time interfere with the canny puzzle, the flesh-and-blood characterization, or the sharp tension. A must for fans of mysteries in period settings--and good enough to win over a few who've previously shied away from that delicate sub-genre.