Berkley, Dec 2001, 6.50, 288 pp.
By 1354, the plague has finally ebbed in Europe. In Girona, Isaac, a blind Jew, serves as the physician to Bishop Berenguer. Isaac's protégé Yusuf is a ward of King Don Pedro who is fighting in Sardina. A malicious person threatens Yusuf so his patrons feel it is safer for him to leave the area.
The Bishop has a packet for the king so Yusuf joins the party escorting it. Before they reach the gates, Pasqual Robert arrives with a knife in his chest. He shortly dies but the man who posed as a cleric for years was really acting as an agent for the king. On the road to their destination, Yusuf and his companions meet a girl, Clara, who is obviously of aristocratic stock. She accompanies the envoy to Sardinia where they search the records to find out who Pasqual's wife is and where she lives so they can notify her of her husband's death. How Clara is connected to Pasqual makes for a fairy tale.
It is very obvious that Caroline Roe has done meticulous research on late Medieval Spain so that the reader will gain a better understanding of the callousness of the leadership along with their politics and social mores. Although Isaac plays a secondary role in this tale, he is a pivotal person to the story line. There are various sub-plots that return to the main story line so that no loose threats remain dangling. A POTION FOR A WIDOW is a colorful and appealing historical mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner