1440 is a year like most. Life goes on with its share of happiness, illness, and scandals. For Master Naylor, though, it is a most tumultuous year. Naylor claims to be a freeman by birth, but Lord Lovell is claiming that Master Naylor is really a villein of his. In order to clear the matter up, Naylor is released from his duties and Sister Frevisse is asked to assume them.

Frevisse is an intelligent, competent woman who is prepared for the misgivings her presence will cause. She soon earns the trust and respect of everyone and takes part in the estates daily events. She is neither shocked nor surprised by the scandals surrounding her.

When a man is murdered, the level-headed Frevisse knows the killer is close at hand. Although the locals have their beliefs as to the killers identity, Frevisse, wise to the ways of the world, does her own investigating to reveal the murderer and the surprising motive for the crime.

Leisurely, lovingly told, THE REEVES TALE is a sumptuous journey back to the fifteenth century. This wonderful series has twice been nominated for an Edgar Award, and Sister Frevisse is such an exquisitely created character it is as if we know her personally. The mystery is a fascinating one and proves that human nature has not changed a great deal over the centuries. (Jan., 288 pp., $21.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg