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by Ellis Peters

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-89296-519-3

 In postwar England, the village of Comerford--home to Police Sergeant George Felse--has its share of returned heros: Quiet teacher Chad Wedeerburn; decorated paratrooper Jim Tigg, now sheepherding on Chris Collins's farm; and Charles Blunden, who fought his way across Italy, now back to his father Selwyn's substantial land holdings. There are also a few POWs in Comerford- -helping where needed. Helmut Schauffler is one of them--hard- working, outwardly meek, but Nazi to the core. He's finally been placed with a group of coal-mining workers but continues his secret verbal torture of Gerd, the stoic Jewish refugee wife of farmer Chris. When Sergeant Felse's clever young son Dominic finds Schauffler's body in a shallow brook, the suspects are many, but the case is still unresolved when a second murder stimulates Dominic to a burgeoning flood of logic and courage beyond his years, forcing the solution to a puzzle deep-rooted in the past. The first of the Sergeant Felse series to appear in the US (it was published in England in 1951), joining the author's Brother Cadfael stories. The leisurely, introspective style so well suited to the life and times of a 12th-century monk seems excessively slow and wordy here, but there are rewards for the patient reader. Others may find it a bit of a slog.