Sleight of Hand de Elizabeth R. Andersen

de Elizabeth R. Andersen - Género: English
libro gratis Sleight of Hand


In the spring of 1354, all was well in the town of Colmar - until Efi Kleven discovered a hand in her pot of new ale...a hand that was not attached to a body. Now, Gritta, Appel, and Efi, the three alewives of Colmar, must solve the mystery of the severed hand before suspicion falls on them. While they attempt to keep their fledgling brewery afloat, more bodies turn up outside of town - along with more suspects.

With few allies and several powerful men working against them, the alewives find themselves flummoxed: How did the hand of a man from Vogelgrun end up in a cooking pot in Colmar? Why were none of the victims local? And would this most inconvenient ingredient get in the way of Efi's plans to find herself a new husband?

Book 2 in The Alewives of Colmar mystery series, Sleight of Hand follows the three women as they confront life after the Black Death with bravery and wicked humor, showing resourcefulness and determination in the face of poverty, misogyny,...

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This series continues to be wonderful. Full review later.bring-out-yer-dead class-gender-race cozy ...more8 s Corey6 1 follower

I really enjoyed reading the first Alewives book so I was pleasantly surprised there was a second installment. 'Sleight of Hand' builds upon the first to give the characters more depth. I was totally immersed into Colmar with the Alewives as they navigated the treacherous circumstances of their lives. Elizabeth has a real skill at building suspense and keeping you guessing all the way to the end.

I'm very thankful to be on the ARC team, but even more thankful to Elizabeth for continuing the Alewives of Colmar series with such a great novel 'Sleight of Hand'. 2 s CathieAuthor 13 books139

"A hand lay there, dark red and bloated from being boiled with the malted grain."

This second novel featuring the adventurous Alewives of Colmar begins with a shock for young widowed Efi, as she hits an unexpected object when she stirs the ale mash. Thinking it a child's toy, discarded to annoy the women, she recoils in horror when it is in fact a severed hand, with a distinctive feature. But who did it belong to? And what is it doing in their mash?

So begins another gripping murder mystery full of suspects, personal vendettas, intrigues, and a suspected witch!

With her good friends and fellow alewives, Gritta – wife of a drunkard and mother of 12 children – and Appel – a seemingly respectful widow of a certain age, suspected of unsuitable liaisons after dark – by her side, all three become embroiled in a plot that has so many red herrings, it leaves you breathless.

Things turn serious when Gritta and her husband, Jorges, are arrested on suspicion of murdering the now identified victim. Jorges had quarrelled with him, and Gritta, always the practical one, is suspected of helping him dispose of the body.

Believing their friend innocent and the Sheriff Werner utterly biased, Appel begins her own investigation, with the help of Friar Wikerus, A Franciscan temporarily staying with the local Dominicans. This, in turn, leads to further complications which add to the rich tapestry of the intricate plot.

When another murder happens, Gritta is released, but her husband soon falls under suspicion again. As the body count rises, together with severed hands, fear grips the community at Les Tanneurs, the poor tannery quarter of Colmar where the three women live. With the locals in fear, anything could happen.

Will the true murderer be found before any more murders occur? Well, make sure to read the novel to find out!


All the characters in Sleight of Hand are utterly unique, in their views, quirks, lives, and foibles. Appel, Gritta and Efi are so different, their ale-making venture shouldn't work – but it does, as, beyond their often nonchalant surface, they care deeply about one another. Even so, Efi is keen to find another husband soon, Appel vanishes at certain times of day, and Gritta is as outspoken as they come, with almost serious consequences.

The enmity between Friar Wikerus and the Dominican Friar Tacitus is shown with great humour, as the two men of the cloth never see eye to eye. The mischievous attitude of easy-going Wikerus, with a past of his own left behind in his home town of Breisach, on the other side of the river Rhine, is in stark contrast to the serious Tacitus, who sees sinful behaviour behind every corner.

The town's officials are also wonderfully depicted: the rather lazy sheriff, Herr Schlock, owner of the weinstube, and Lord Fridus, who tries not to get too involved in smalltown squabbles.

Through all these unique characters, Ms Andersen has created a wonderfully lively image of a small town in rural medieval Alsace, where you find secrets galore behind closed doors.

The language and description of the setting is exquisitely researched, showing clearly the combined French and German nature of the area. The region of Alsace changed hands many times over the last millennium, and the residents have come to terms with living with two quite distinct cultures and terminologies. Ms Andersen has brought this unique location and its people vividly to life.

A sometimes subtle and at other times laugh-out-loud sense of humour runs through the novel, adding a touch of lightheartedness that creates the perfect contrast against the dark backdrop of the gruesome murders.

The background of the main characters, which was featured in book #1, The Alewives, is cleverly fed into the plot, and although we would always recommend reading a series from the beginning, Sleight of Hand works well as a standalone story.

As far as the murder mystery is concerned, we find many false leads and suspects. All the characters I suspected were actually innocent. This is a rare feat, as often you can guess 'whodunit' quite early on. Not so in Sleight of Hand! The author's skill in creating all these different threads – without losing track or losing a reader's interest – is remarkable. As I ticked off the suspects in my head, I was left wondering who it could have been. In the end, the revelation of the murderer came as a surprise. Mission accomplished, Ms Andersen!

Sleight of Hand is an incredibly clever murder mystery, with quirky characters, a fascinating historic location, and intriguing plot lines. The immersive narrative and local, medieval terminology gives you a real sense of time and place.

Fans of medieval murder mysteries and cosy 'whodunits' will thoroughly enjoy reading Sleight of Hand.

Highly Recommended.

Review by Cathie Dunn
The Coffee Pot Book Club
Olivia Morris38 2

Ther Alewives of Colmar are three widows that as their title might suggest, are brewers of the ale that the whole region enjoys. In the 1300's when faced without a partner in life, many widows starved. Efi, Gritta and Appel find a way to make a life for themselves and prosper in their current state. But all of a sudden, during the process of making the ale, a severed hand has been dropped into the new brew. What should have turned out to be a wonderful new and fresh ale, has turned into a mess with this discovery!
What in heavens name is going on and who would that hand belong to and how did it end up in a new kettle of ale mash?
The three women must find out all they can about the mysterious severed hand. Who, what, where, when and most of all why, need to be answered.
There is something rotten afoot in Colmar and Efi, Gritta and Appel must take on the responsibility to grt to the bottom of this mystery before it ruins the nice life they have managed to make for themselves.
Elizabeth Andersen has done a great job in taking you to the life and times of these three women. I'm sure you will enjoy this book and have a whole new respect for the women of those times.

I received a copy of this book from Bookfunnel for my honest review.
historical-mystery-novel Jan FosterAuthor 9 books35

If you read the award-winning first book, you'll be as delighted as I was to return to the post-plague village where Gritta, Efi and Appel are still risking it all to brew their ale (and solve a few murders along the way). This follow up story doesn't disappoint, with the bizarre discovery of a hand minus the rest of its body in their cauldron, almost as soon as you open the book! It's not long before one of their own is accused (on extremely flimsy evidence!) and those left behind begin hunting the true killer. Humourous, plausible and thoroughly engrossing - I cannot recommend this book/series enough!
What I really love about Ms Andersen's writing is how accurate and authentic everything feels - a testament to her research skills and immersive writing. C14 Colmar isn't actually that pleasant a place to be, and there's no mistaking life is hard for the whole community, but the lighter touches of humour and humanity somehow make you feel that it's going to be alright in the end. As long as you have the can-do attitude of Appel, the irrepressible optimism (ok, she's a bit daft but...) of Efi, and the sheer determination to survive of Gritta of course!
If you cosy mysteries, laugh-out-loud situations and intrigue, Sleight of Hand is one of the best books I've read in a long time. If you love your history, discovering little written about times and traditions, this book should absolutely live on your shelves!historical-fiction Gabriele Samodelov6

This is a very good mystery which had me stumped until the end. However, it is so much more! It is set in the middle ages, soon after a wave of plague has hit and decimated the population, devastated the lives of many, and left deep emotional scars in the survivors. It also paints a compelling picture about the challenges the lower ranks of society faced, and of ways women might have managed to find a place for themselves, oftentimes a precarious one, in what was very much a man´s world: through marriage – or through their own wit and initiative to survive.

I could not put this book down. I had to know, who did the crime? Where are things going from here? What mishap will befall the characters next? And believe me, a lot does happen, good and bad!
I highly recommend this book.
Tina Lincoln235 2

Exciting Murder Mystery!
What an enlightening who-dun-it during some of the most desperate times when people either get closer, or they start pointing fingers and crying out murder!
This was a wonderful addition to the Alewives of Colmar series. I went round and round with all of the questions and turns of the story, who cut off the hands, who was blamed for cutting then off, but who then put a hand IN the ale brew?
Finally, what made the person who did those things, do those things?
Then, there is the matter of stealing right there in plain site! Wow, reading that and in my mind's eye seeing it, that was a superb addition!
This story would be good as a standalone but is much better when reading the series.
Thank you, Elizabeth R. Andersen for another great story!
I received a complimentary copy of this story and this is my honest review. Janice Drake597 11

This is the second book of the Alewives and the women are in trouble again. They have to outsmart gossiping men, spiteful women, and even the brothers of the church just so they can live life as they want. Then there is someone who wants them to take the fall for the murders. Life is tough in the Middle Ages.

I love the characters in Andersen's stories. Each is unique and a bundle of good and bad. The world she has built is true to life, dirty and gritty. The mystery kept me guessing and the end nail-biting. Roger4,616 18

Sleight of Hand: An Alewives of Colmar Mystery (The Alewives of Colmar), my first read from author Elizabeth R. Andersen. A 279-page Historical Mystery. “I received a Kindle copy of this bookback on March 26, 2024 and even though I hadn't read the first book in the series, The Alewives: A plague-era tale of murder, friendship, and fine ale (The Alewives of Colmar) I'm voluntarily leaving a review." The gifting of this book did not affect my opinion of it. (RIP Marley January 20, 2014 - July 24, 2018). Barbara Harrison2

I have not read the 1st book but this is a stand alone, so quite easy to pick up with the wonderful characters. I read this in one sitting as the story is so immersive I didn't want to put it down. Thoroughly enjoyable and can't wait for the next instalment.

I received this book for free in return for my review. 1 Tanya13.9k 70

They have gone for a drink and one is shocked to find a disembodied hand in her mug. More disembodied hands will be found and now they need to find out what is going on. Who is behind it all? Can they stop it? Will they get the blame? See how it will all go Anaide328

This Is always so brutish, but I actually love it. It Feels more accurate than normal historical fiction I am used to. It has anguish and grip and the perfect lenght. It flows nicely and it is frustrating, but in an intenional and interesting way. I am hoping for more installments.historical-fiction mystery Teran92

3.75 Kristin Kery3 3

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