n his deathbed, Brother Haluin confesses to the abbot and Brother Cadfael that 18 years previously he had fallen in love with Bertrade de Clary, whose mother had forbidden their marriage. The girl had later died as a result of herbs he had given her mother, Adelais de Clary, to abort their baby. Haluin unexpectedly recovers from his fall, however, and he now is determined to make a pilgrimage to the girl's tomb. But when he and Brother Cadfael arrive at Hales, they find Adelais de Clary strangely indifferent and no tomb for Bertrade at the church. Haluin insists on traveling to Elford, the chief seat of the de Clarys, in search of Beltrade's final resting place. The two monks find more than the tomb there, and on their homeward journey through Staffordshire they encounter forbidden love, a hastily arranged marriage, violent emotions and murder. It is up to Brother Cadfael to untangle the threads that bind the past to the present to avert another tragedy. Though the plot is somewhat obvious, Peters knows her period well and does not strike one false note in this thoroughly entertaining medieval mystery.