Prospero and 1, other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by "sharp pains", "sudden dizziness", and " profuse bleeding at the pores ", and die within half an hour. Prospero and his court are indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large; they intend to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.
Prospero holds a masquerade ball one night to entertain his guests in seven colored rooms of the abbey. Each of the first six rooms is decorated and illuminated in a specific color: The last room is decorated in black and is illuminated by a scarlet light, "a deep blood color" cast from its stained glass windows. Because of this chilling pairing of colors, very few guests are brave enough to venture into the seventh room. A large ebony clock stands in this room and ominously chimes each hour, upon which everyone stops talking or dancing and the orchestra stops playing.
Once the chiming stops, everyone immediately resumes the masquerade. At the chiming of midnight, the revelers and Prospero notice a figure in a dark, blood-splattered robe resembling a funeral shroud. The figure's mask resembles the rigid face of a corpse and exhibits the traits of the Red Death.
Gravely insulted, Prospero demands to know the identity of the mysterious guest so they can hang him. The guests, too afraid to approach the figure, instead let him pass through the six chambers.
The Prince pursues him with a drawn dagger and corners the guest in the seventh room. When the figure turns to face him, the Prince lets out a sharp cry and falls dead. The enraged and terrified revelers surge into the black room and forcibly remove the mask and robe, only to find to their horror that there is nothing underneath. Only then do they realize the figure is the Red Death itself, and all of the guests contract and succumb to the disease.
The final line of the story sums up, "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all". The imagery of blood and time throughout also indicates corporeality.
There is also unexpected kindness and caring from members of the family. A fine addition and I look forward to the next book in the series. Feb 14, Susan Jaffe Pober rated it really liked it. Another excellent tale of murder, intrigue in the life of Prioress Eleanor in 13th century England. The series, by Pricilla Royal is told with great detail of the lives of all manor of class during this historical period. This is the sixth book in the Medieval Mystery series and I look forward to starting the seventh - which is already waiting for me on my night table. Nov 12, Jen rated it liked it.
Murder, of course, can be expected. The problem is that I didn't much care for this sixth book in the series. Any series can vary in quality, but I'm not sure if that was the reason I didn't like it as much or if I'm growing a bit tired of the tension between Eleanor and her favorite monk. Poisoned Pen Press Medieval Mystery.
Jan 25, Ama-louise rated it really liked it. A righteous stroll through a houseful packed with enough deceit, lust both open and concealed to kindle into the flames of a hellish crime. Dec 11, Helen rated it liked it. Cadfael meets Crowner John! Sep 23, Cece rated it it was ok Shelves: This was weaker than other books of the series-the characters were more stock and the mystery was not so mysterious.
I was a little disappointed. Jun 02, Melody rated it really liked it.
The family of the Earl are a complex group who range from religious to an extreme, with a holier than thou additude and those who are more secular. The Spirit and the Skull. I bought the first two books in the series, but have checked the others out of the library and will probably continue to do so. Views Read Edit View history. Is the second book in the series by Priscilla Royal. Medieval Mystery 1 - 10 of 15 books.
A new series to me. Very interesting characters and an interesting plot.
Very good representation of medieval thinking. I shall look for other books in this series. Zoe rated it it was amazing Jun 09, GAIL rated it really liked it Feb 15, Rachel Cochran rated it liked it Aug 08, Denise rated it really liked it Nov 22, Pat rated it it was amazing Jan 06, Holly rated it really liked it Jul 31, Ray Richner rated it it was amazing Dec 29, Rachelle rated it really liked it Dec 24, Courtney Dachelle rated it liked it Jan 02, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Jan 31, Was this the act of a member of the Assassin sect, or was the weapon meant to mislead?
It is May , and Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal, recovering from a near-fatal winter fever, journeys to Amesbury Priory to visit her aunt in time for the Feast of Saint Melor. Although Eleanor hopes to regain her strength in the midst of pleasant childhood memories, death reveals a most troublesome fondness for her company.
A ghost now haunts Amesbury.
Is it perhaps the spirit of a pregnant woman who drowned herself in the River Avon? But soon the specter turns murderous. The summer of is peaceful for most of England, except in the village of Tyndal, where Martin the cooper has been poisoned at the local inn.
Martin had plenty of enemies; the killer could be anyone. Prioress Eleanor grieves for her friend, the newly bereaved Crowner Ralf, and offers what help she can.
But then her own problems multiply. When one of her company falls ill on a return journey to Tyndal, Prioress Eleanor accepts lodging at a nearby manor. There, Master Stevyns's wife is having an affair with the groom, while a local widow acts more like the lady of the manor than the lady herself.
The master's eldest son and spouse are obsessed with sin and heaven, while his youngest son, bound for the church, unexpectedly returns with more interest in lute playing than the priesthood. The cost is higher than expected, however, when Death arrives as the emissary.