Poisoned Pen, Dec 2004, 22.95 403 pp.
Eleanor of Wynethorpe, the prioress of Tyndale in East Anglia, is summoned home because her young nephew Richard is very ill. Accompanying her is the renowned healer Sister Anne and Thomas, a monk who was forced into the church by a fanatical bishop. Visiting the castle are Sir Geoffrey, his wife Isabella, his son Henry, and his daughter Julianna who are negotiating the marriage of Lord Adam's son and Eleanor's brother Robert to Sir Gregory's daughter Julianna.
While Anne takes care of Richard, Isabella flirts with Robert and Sir Geoffrey fights with his son and Henry and Robert engage in fisticuffs. Shortly thereafter, Henry dies from knife wounds and Robert is found standing over the body, his hands dripping with blood. Surprisingly, it is Sir Geoffrey who argues that Robert is innocent and his father who has him locked in a guarded room waiting for the sheriff to come. Eleanor and Brother Thomas work together to find the real killer because they believe Robert is innocent.
TYRANT OF THE MIND is a medieval mystery which takes place six months after the ill fated rebellion of Simon de Montefort. Readers get a glimpse of the inner workings of a medieval castle. The heroine is the voice of reason and quite logically shows her father why her brother couldn't possibly be guilty; in an age when women had no rights, Eleanor stands up for her beliefs. Brother Thomas, who also plays a role in finding out who the killer is, has adjusted to the circumstance which forced him to become a priest. Priscilla Royal's style is reminiscent of renowned author Sharon Key Perman.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner