Abbot Radulfus brings a hard-nosed new priest for the parish, who (among other acts) refuses absolution to a pregnant girl who is then found dead. He quickly becomes so hated that no one is too sorry to see him dead. But Cadfael must not only identify his killer, but determine whether the girl was a condemned suicide or innocent murder victim -- and his findings may keep the girl's body out of holy ground.
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What plague have we brought upon the town! If she took her own life, then she is damned and must be buried in unconsecrated ground, but if she was murdered, she may have Christian burial and be at peace. Brother Cadfael, her immortal soul is at stake! You must find the truth!