My first book of the new year! The only challenge that this one counts towards is my 2012 GoodReads challenge, to read 245 books in 2012. I aimed for 156 (3 per week) in 2011 and made it to 242, so I think aiming to up my total by 3 in 2012 is perfectly possible.
Saint Peter's Fair is the fourth book of the Cadfael Chronicles, set in Shrewsbury during the Nineteen Year Winter in the 12th century (Not to be confused with darkoutthere's LARP by the same name, inspired by the Cadfael books and excessively fun if you haven't played in it already (and, really, even if you have!)). The book is split into five sections, which is rare in these books, the eve of the fair, the first, second and third days of the fair and after the fair. Events focus on young Emma, a wealthy merchant's niece, come to the fair from Bristol. Another focus of the novel is the unrest from the town, as it had recently been attacked by King Stephen, after declaring for Empress Maud (see One corpse too many, book two in the series). The town is aggrieved that for three days of high business, all income goes to the Abbey and they feel that the Abbey should part with some of that income in order to restore the town's defences etc.
This is a fascinating and enjoyable murder mystery, with a hint of espionage thrown in from all quarters, and well up to Pargeter's usual high standard.