Brother Cadfael, worldly-wise and gentle herbalist at the 12th-century Shrewsbury Abbey, returns for a third adventure--which takes place after King Stephen's victory in the recent civil war. The murder victim: Gervase Bond, who has vowed to give the Abbey his estate of Mallilee, thus disinheriting his stepson Edwin and his bastard son Meurig. Who poisoned Bond with one of Cadfael's unguents? Sheriff Prescote fingers 15-year-old Edwin and hunts him down. But Cadfael launches his own investigation, urged on by Edwin's mother Richildis (a love of Cadfael's youth). So, with the help of faithful apprentice Mark and old chum Hugh Beringer, Cadfael follows a series of hard-won clues to the Welsh border and there, in a daring confrontation, tags the true culprit. As before, Peters does wonders with the medieval scene and with complex character relationships; unfortunately, however, lively Hugh Beringer (a major presence in One Corpse Too Many) makes only a brief appearance here, so this is slightly less sprightly than its predecessors. Still--superior entertainment for historically inclined mystery fans.