Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Falconer's Knot

The Falconer’s Knot
Mary Hoffman

Silvano is a young man who is in love with a married woman. When he’s accused of murdering this woman’s husband, his father sends him into hiding at a Franciscan friary, where he pretends to be a novice and hopes his name will be cleared.

Chiara’s parents are dead and her brother does not have money for a dowry so he sends her to become a postulant at the Poor Clares convent (which is located beside the friary). She has not received a call to be a nun, but she has little choice but to go to the convent.

Meanwhile at the friary a wealthy merchant is murdered. Soon thereafter there is another murder. Rumors circulate at first that Silvano is the murderer but then suspicion shifts to his mentor, Anselmo. Although Silvano and Chiara are not supposed to have any contact with each other they are thrown together on several different occasions and they start wondering who could be the murderer. As things in the friary become more and more chaotic the two are determined to solve the mystery.

This is a mystery, but it also has romance and there’s a lot to be learned about life in the Middle Ages. Hoffman does an excellent job of showing the importance of art and religion in everyday medieval life. I don’t think this is a mystery for everyone, but there are students who will enjoy it. I certainly did.

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