Cadfael

The murder mystery solving monk.

Cadfael and murder.

Cadfael, in addition to be a healer and gardener, was often called on in nearly every book to solve the riddle of a murder. Hugh Beringer, the deputy sheriff and later sheriff, would be Cadfael’s counterpart in the civil realm.


There was a large variety of murders that would occur in Shrewsbury and elsewhere on his travels. Local lords, merchants, priests, young women, knights, sheriffs and others would be killed from accident to revenge. The corpses that were found would range from still warm, to drowned, to charred skeletons.


Using his inquisitive mind, and with the assistance of Hugh, Cadfael would set about with deep consideration to the circumstances in solving the mystery. Sometimes the answer would elude him, until a chance encounter or sudden memory would send him rushing to the aid or the arrest of the culprit.


Cadfael and monastery life.

Monks followed a set of strict rules and had a daily timetable for services. The first service would be at Prime, at dawn, followed by Terce at nine, Sext at noon and None at three. Then later Vespers would be for late afternoon, and Compline at seven thirty to eight thirty. The final service would be Matins, at midnight. Then then monks could go back to bed, until Prime came around again the morning.


Cadfael acknowledges on a number of occasions that he is less than diligent as a monk, finding some parts not to suit him, though the whole suits him very well. He would sometimes begrudge the time he has to spend in prayer when he would be rather out at his workshop, or he would sit behind a pillar at the chapterhouse meeting in the morning and doze.


Cadfael would find a range of corpses, from still warm to skeletons.

The Abbey of Shrewsbury, mostly destroyed in the 16th century, survives partially as a church.