Book Review: The Newly Crimsoned Reliquary, by Donna Fletcher Crow

Publisher:  Greenbriar Book Company  |  Publication date: 5th February 2015  |  Edition: Paperback (Review Copy)

Crimsoned Reliquary Book Review

A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary by Donna Fletcher CrowYou’d rather hope that a monastery in Oxford would be a place of sanctuary. Unfortunately, that’s not in the case for Father Antony Sherwood and his American fiancée, Felicity.

Although I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, I get the impression they have Jessica Fletcher-esque inquisitive natures have an uncanny knack of attracting trouble wherever they go (not intentionally, I might add!).

In The Newly Crimsoned Reliquary our amateur sleuthing duo face a desperate situation when ancient relics are being desecrated and the severed body parts on display are much fresher than one would expect. There is a missing nun to contend with, a crisis at the convent press, coupled with personal attacks on the sisters with whom Felicity is working with to transcribe a medieval manuscript of significant historical interest. As time ticks on, it seems there are more sinister forces at working against the sisters.

Whilst the manuscript provides it’s own challenges, Father Antony hears that a member of his family is suffering from ill health he faces a crisis of his own. In honouring his duties to the parish and having to confront a personal matter and his past he is forced to spend more time away from Felicity than he would like under circumstances.

With a solid plot and a few suspicions without huge twists, this is more of a gentle paced and relatively tame mystery. Although it’s set in the present day there’s no profanity of any kind. At times, historical or biblical passages were quoted during sermons as a feature of dialogue or services throughout. These contributed to the overall atmosphere, but I did feel the duration of them had a tendency to dwell a little too long and some moments became a little swamped under their weight.

This is the 4th book in a series entitled ‘The Monastery Murders’. I read this as a stand-alone, but there’s obviously been a progression of Father Antony and Felicity’s relationship during the other books in the series, as references are made to it this time round. I can’t say jumping right in with this book effected my overall enjoyment, but I may have appreciated our main characters sleuthing background more if I’d read the others in the series first.

There’s no doubt that the author is considerably knowledgeable in religious history, the intricate details of which make for a fascinating read. It was nice to step away from the more graphic fiction that I have become accustomed to for just a moment, as this offered a more relaxing reading experience.

I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a cosy mysteries, or has an historical or ecclesiastical interest.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the author for kindly providing a paperback copy of this book for review in exchange for an honest review.)

Crimsoned Reliquary Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Who will be the next victim of the murderer stalking the shadows of Oxford’s hallowed shrines? Translating an ancient document in an Oxford convent should be a harmless venture, but Felicity just can’t seem to avoid danger. It’s hardly Felicity’s fault that severed body parts start showing up in ancient holy reliquaries. Or that Felicity and one of the nuns is assaulted. Felicity’s curiosity leads her to wonder why the nuns are in danger. Or why an ancient document would appear to be at the heart of the matter. Her expertise is called upon, and she quickly realizes that there is a lot at stake when others stand to gain, from what at first glance, appears to be a minor point of law, long forgotten. Her life is made busier when Antony arrives in Oxford with a group of students. Although she’s happy to see him, he is surprised that Felicity has forged an uneasy friendship with his estranged sister. Then Antony is called home when an uncle dies, Antony realizes that hurt feelings must be laid to rest if his relationship with his sister is to improve. Left alone at the convent, the exultation of All Saints’ Day plunges to the anguish of grief on All Souls’, when Felicity discovers yet another body, forcing her to ask: Who will be the next victim of the murderer stalking the shadows of Oxford’s hallowed shrines?


Crimsoned Reliquary Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 35 books, mostly novels of British history drawing on her own family background and extensive research trips. Her best-known work is GLASTONBURY, a Grail Search epic covering 1500 years of English history. She now specializes in crime fiction with The Monastery Murders, a series of Ecclesiastical thrillers and The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries, a romantic suspense series. You can read more about her and her books at