Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Outlaw's Tale by Margaret Frazer

I searched high and low for The Outlaw’s Tale, the next book in Margaret Frazer’s incredible series featuring Dame Frevisse. Finally I found and downloaded the Kimble version. The wait was worth the effort. The Outlaw’s Tale delivers as much action as mystery.

The story opens with Dame Frevisse accompanying Sister Emma who is on her way to a family christening when they are take by a band of outlaws. They are treated well and Frevisse finds out to her surprise the outlaws are led by her cousin Nicholas, whom she hasn’t seen in sixteen years or more. He swears he has changed his ways and implores her to write to their uncle, Thomas Chaucer (son of Geoffrey) to see if he can arrange a pardon for him and his men.

Frevisse is unsure but happy to help her cousin. Before all this can happen, the fragile, flibbertigibbet Emma is taken ill from her exposure to the elements. Nicholas arranges for them to seek help for her at the manor of a man with whom he has done business.

She is doubtful about what these business dealings might include but busies herself taking care of Emma. The widowed sister of the manor lord is eager to help and Frevisse discovers the reason why. There may be a connection between the widow and Nicholas or one of his men.

Frevisse finds her self in the middle of a family feud after a brutish, despicable man wanting the widow’s hand in marriage is murdered. Despite her cousin’s reassurances that he has changed his ways, Frevisse isn’t quite convinced. Nicholas appears to be more involved with the family than he lets on.

The Outlaw’s Tale is either a short book or an easy read because the pages flew by. I read it in two sittings over a weekend. I like the references to Frevisse’s family and the memories she has of her childhood, since it brings her to life, which other characters similar to Frevisse lack. She is humble but not unassuming. She’s someone with whom the reader can connect and root for.

I didn’t find it to be as complex as the other Frevisse mysteries but as I mentioned before, it has action and suspense. I devoured it like all the others and am ready for the next.

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