Moll, a young nun, lies in the infirmary of St Mary's Priory, Belstone, having been bled to cure a migraine. Left to rest, she is just falling into a doze, smiling as she dreams of her beloved Virgin Mary, when she suddenly awakes, realising in terror that she can't breathe. But she is too weak to fight for her life ...
It's 1321 and Lady Elizabeth of Topsham, prioress of St Mary's, is struggling to retain her position in the face of devastating opposition. Not only is St Mary's in the worst possible state of disrepair due to lack of funds, but Sister Margherita, her treasurer, has accused her of lascivious disregard, claiming that, instead of paying for a new roof, Elizabeth has given money to the new vicar, a man she often sees alone - at night. Many of the nuns are convinced that Margherita would make a better prioress - especially now it has been confirmed that Moll was murdered on her sickbed.
Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace, together with his old friend Bailiff Simon Puttock, are summoned immediately by the Bishop of Exeter's representative to investigate. There is no doubt that the threefold vows of obedience, chastity and poverty are being broken with alarming frequency. When a second nun is murdered, they face their most difficult case yet. The path to the truth twists and turns with the sinister forces of primitive passions and secret ambitions, finally leading them to a dangerous wolf in sheep's clothing.
"... another cracking mystery from Michael Jecks..."
Belladonna at Belstone is now available as an eBook; download the Kindle edition from Amazon.
A new paperback edition was published by Simon & Schuster in August 2013, and is available order from Amazon.