November 1283. Prioress Eleanor's cousin, the Earl of Ness, visits with his wife, Eda. When his unloved spouse is murdered in the priory chapel with his knife, he becomes the prime suspect. Another murder follows. Eda's quiet priest is killed in the same chapel. Eda had many enemies, so what connection could there be between a ruthless woman and a pious man who cared nothing of earthy things? Crowner Ralf insists the crimes fall under the king's law and that Prioress Eleanor lacks objectivity because of her cousin's involvement. Prioress Eleanor refuses, claiming that she must determine why the crime occurred in her priory. She also believes that her cousin is more likely to tell her needed details than to an unknown crowner. But as she digs deeper, she begins to fear what she might discover. She may have thought her cousin was innocent, but she realizes he is lying to her. Having given her word that she would not be blinded by familial love, she knows that she may have to face tragedy and walk her cousin to the gallows.
Priscilla Royal grew up in British Columbia, earned a degree in world literature from San Francisco State University, and worked for the federal government in various positions. She is the author of the Medieval Mystery series featuring Eleanor, prioress of Tyndal, and she is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, California Writers Club, and Sisters in Crime.