Cripples Day at Shrewsbury brings a hoard of disabled pilgrims to the abbey. Within a short while, a body is found in a leather sack amid the visitors. Cadfael boils down the man's body to inspect the bones and uncovers two possible explanations for his death. But in the excitement of the day's festivities, the bones of the deceased are stolen. Then, the chief robbery suspect escapes, leaving Cadfael to delve deeper into the mystery of the bones' disappearance and the reasons for the victim's death. Twelfth century Shrewsbury comes dramatically to life in Ellis Peters' story of Brother Cadfael - a good man in an evil world.
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