The murder mystery solving monk.

Cadfael, the books.

Ellis Peters wrote twenty one books in all, stretching from 1137 to 1145.

1. A Morbid Taste for Bones (August 1977, set in 1137)

The monks of the abbey set off to retrieve the bones of saint. The locals are unhappy, and their leader is found shortly later, murdered.

2. One Corpse Too Many (July 1979, set in August 1138)

In the Siege of Shrewsbury castle by King Stephen, amongst the killed rebels is one man, who has been clearly murdered, but not in the fighting.

3. Monk's Hood (August 1980, set in December 1138)

A wealthy man who gifted his estate to the abbey is found dead, killed by Cadfael own concoction of Monks Hood.

4. Saint Peter's Fair (May 1981, set in July 1139)

A merchant bound for St. Peters Fair is found dead, killed by a dagger.

5. The Leper of Saint Giles (August 1981, set in October 1139)

Local baron, riding through the woods is knocked off his horse by a rope stretched across the road, and then strangled. Could the mystery be solved at the leper hospital of St. Giles?

6. The Virgin in the Ice (April 1982, set in November 1139)

Its a cold winter in Shrewsbury. In the icy river, a young woman is found drowned.

7. The Sanctuary Sparrow (January 1983 set in the Spring of 1140

Fleeing an angry mob, a young entertainer seeks sanctuary at the abbey. Could you be responsible for the recently found body of the local locksmith?

8. The Devil's Novice (August 1983, set in September 1140)

A young novice joins the order. Meek and polite in the day, he is wracked by terrifying dreams at night. Then, a charred skeleton is found. Perhaps the novices' guilt is manifesting itself.

9. Dead Man's Ransom (April 1984, set in February 1141)

In an exchange of prisoners between the side of King Stephen and Empress Maud, one of them, the Sheriff of Shropshire, is found murdered.

10. The Pilgrim of Hate (September 1984, set in May 1141)

Its the fourth celebration of the arrival of the bones of St Winifred. Far away, but not too far, a knight has been murdered. Could the killer be in the town?

11. An Excellent Mystery (June 1985, set in August 1141)

From a destroyed abbey come two monks, and one of them appears to be a mute. However Cadfael soon learns they are bound closer together then just holy orders.

12. The Raven in the Foregate (February 1986, set in December 1141)

The town gets a new priest. Though accepted by the abbey, the priest soon makes himself loathed. Not too soon, he is found dead in the river. With the whole town suspect, how can Cadfael track down the killer?

13. The Rose Rent (October 1986, set in June 1142)

A wealthy women landowner bequeaths her estate to the abbey for the yearly rent of one rose. This year, the priest carrying the rose is found killed.

14. The Hermit of Eyton Forest (June 1987, set in October 1142)

In a case of multiple deceptive layers, a child marriage is arranged in order to gain control of a large tract of land. Cadfael soon learns that nothing is as it seems.

15. The Confession of Brother Haluin (March 1988, set in December 1142)

Thinking he is about to die, Bother Haluin confesses to a terrible deed. He recovers, and decided to undertake a trip, along with Cadfael, to make up for this deed.

16. A Rare Benedictine: The Advent of Brother Cadfael (September 1988, set in 1120)

Set before Cadfael became a monk, this is his early years, set around Christmas with a robbery and murder.

17. The Heretic's Apprentice (February 1989, set in June 1143)

Fresh from returning from a pilgrimage, a young man finds his masters body. In no short order it is discovered he has heretical leanings, and is brought to trial.

18. The Potter's Field (September 1989, set in August 1143)

When a local field is donated, the monks set to ploughing it. Soon they find a young womens body, buried there for less than a year.

19. The Summer of the Danes (April 1991, set in April 1144)

On a trip into Wales, Cadfael is captured by the Danes. In their custody, he has to solve the mystery of a murdered prisoner.

20. The Holy Thief (August 1992, set in February 1145)

When a flood threatens the bones of St Winifred, the monks aim to move them. However the bones are gone, and in its place is a corpse.

21. Brother Cadfael's Penance (May 1994, set in November 1145)

On learning his son has been captured, Cadfael, without permission, sets out to rescue him. In doing so, he gets embroiled in the latest flare up in hostilities between the forces of King Stephen and Empress Maud, and ends up in the middle of a siege.

Ellis Peters

Ellis Peters is the pen name of Edith Pargeter, author of the Cadfael Chronicals. Born in September in 1913 in Shropshire, she worked as a chemists assistance, from where she learned about the range and nature of different medicines. She then started becoming a prolific author of a number of different novels.

Then in 1977, she wrote the first book of the Chronilces of Brother Cadfael, a murder mystery solving monk, living in the 12th century. Becoming popular, she devoted nearly all her time to the novels, numbering 21 in all for the next eighteen years.

She died in October 1995. There is a stained glass window in the cathedral in Shrewsbury dedicated to her.

Ellis Peters in Hungary

The Television Show

The television series of the Cadfael books were first aired on television on ITV in Britain from 1994 to 1998. Sir Derek Jacobi, with his history of Shakespeare performances, played Brother Cadfael. There were four series in total of thirteen episodes of 75 minutes each, with three episodes to each series.

Some changes made were the episodes were somewhat out of order when they were first shown, with early books being aired later., and some minor character and plot changes, such as changing Anglo Saxon names to more modern English spellings.


Cadfael was often grinding herbs and plants in various mortars and pestles for potions in his workshop.