The name Sister Frevisse refers to a series of historical mystery novels written by Monica Ferris. The books follow the exploits of a nun in medieval times who solves murders.
Order of Sister Frevisse Series
|1||The Novice's Tale||1992||Description / Buy|
|2||The Servant's Tale||1993||Description / Buy|
|3||The Outlaw's Tale||1994||Description / Buy|
|4||The Bishop's Tale||1994||Description / Buy|
|5||The Boy's Tale||1995||Description / Buy|
|6||The Murderer's Tale||1996||Description / Buy|
|7||The Prioress' Tale||1997||Description / Buy|
|8||The Maiden's Tale||1998||Description / Buy|
|9||The Reeve's Tale||1999||Description / Buy|
|10||The Squire's Tale||2000||Description / Buy|
|11||The Clerk's Tale||2002||Description / Buy|
|12||The Bastard's Tale||2003||Description / Buy|
|13||The Hunter's Tale||2004||Description / Buy|
|14||The Widow's Tale||2005||Description / Buy|
|15||The Sempster's Tale||2006||Description / Buy|
|16||The Traitor's Tale||2007||Description / Buy|
|17||The Apostate's Tale||2007||Description / Buy|
Sister Frevisse is first introduced to readers in The Novice’s Tale, the first novel in the series during which a short-tempered Lady causes a stir at a convent and then dies.
Lady Ermentrude was a noblewoman renowned for her vigor and temper. When Thomasine, her grandniece, joined the St. Frideswide convent, Lady Ermentrude decided to stop by for a visit.
Not long after her arrival, the Lady left. When she returned, she wouldn’t stop raving about the need for Thomasine to abandon St. Frideswide and get married. Eventually, she died, following in the footsteps of a servant that had eaten some of her food before also passing away.
Sister Frevisse, a hosteler of the convent, knew that once the Crowner arrived, he would waste no time in ruling the incident an accident. But Frevisse knew better, which is why she joined Domina Edith and Dame Claire in solving what they perceived to be murder.
Even though she is often joined by her friends and fellow nuns on the many adventures she undertakes, the Sister Frevisse series primarily tells Sister Frevisse’s story.
The books are set in Medieval England, specifically in the 1430s. The author places a lot of emphasis on the culture and lifestyle of the time, the harsh conditions and the politically incorrect attitudes.
In those times, no one thought that highly of women. They were to play a simpler, more subservient role to the men in their lives.
Monica Ferris doesn’t shy away from those unpleasant aspects of her setting. But her heroine is a strong, independent woman who refuses to bow down to the social tyranny of her era.
Frevisse loves God. But she is also highly intellectual. She will happily present a façade of obedience to avoid conflict. But she isn’t afraid to lie and to cheat and to conspire to get what she wants.
More often, all Frevisse wants is an opportunity to catch the criminals in her midst. Each installment in the series presents a challenge to overcome, a mystery or murder that was carried out within her vicinity and which she must resolve before the crowner shows up and jumps to all the wrong conclusions.
In a way, Frevisse pursues mysteries because they are the only outlet for her intellect. Every so often, she will permit some of the less pleasant aspects of her personality to escape.
But for the most part, she tries to stay on good terms with her friends, many of whom play significant roles in the mysteries she solves.
Sister Frevisse Awards
The first novel received an Edgar award nomination in 1994. The fourth novel earned a Minnesota Book Award nomination the year after.
Best Sister Frevisse Books
It is worth mentioning that Monica Ferris only wrote the first six books in the Sister Frevisse series. She wrote the novels in collaboration with Gail Lynn Brown under the Margaret Glazer pen name. Brown went on to write more books in the series without Ferris.
Of the books that Ferris wrote, the best include:
The Servant’s Tale: Christmas is here and the residents of St. Friedswide are not in the business of turning travelers away at such a time. When a motley troupe of players comes knocking on their door with a drunken wastrel in tow, no one expects two dead bodies to turn up.
Now, Sister Frevisse is determined to find the true killer among the actors.
The Bishop’s Tale: When Sister Frevisse goes to London, it is with the sole intention of attending her uncle’s funeral.
She doesn’t expect a man to dare God to smite him. And she definitely doesn’t expect that same man to drop dead as a result. Now Bishop Beaufort wants Frevisse to get to the bottom of the incident.
Other Book Series You May Like
The “Joliffe the Player” Series by Margaret Frazer is another good read. Joliffe first appeared as a side character in the Sister Frevisse books. In this spin-off series, Joliffe is an actor who spends a lot of time playing private investigator and spy in 1434. He spends his days traveling with his troupe, finding mysteries in the most unexpected places.
You may also like the “Peter Brichter” Series by Mary Monica Pulver. Peter Brichter is a Police officer who must balance his detective work with his relationship with Kori Price, a horse breeder with a traumatic past.
What Is The Next Book in The Sister Frevisse Series?
There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Sister Frevisse Series. The newest book is The Apostate's Tale and was released on January, 2nd 2007.