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Disgusting Habits

by HowardM 

Posted: 07 February 2006
Word Count: 676
Summary: A parody of the endless Medievel Murder Mysteries with goody goody monks and happy endings!

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Every medieval monk was of course also a detective. Some of them were also useless.

It is 1068 and Lord Malcolm de Mob, who would love to be one of the leading Norman nobles in Britain, is in trouble. In the middle of a gathering of C list celebs, Henri de Turold , the King’s favourite arrow carrier, has been murdered while sitting on Malcolm’s new fangled garderobe, shot straight up the back passage from below.

The Saxon Lady Foella, who only came to the castle to ensare de Turold in a marriage of her convenience is not pleased. Always temperamental and, after an accident involving sewage, now barking mad she concludes that Malcolm must pay for this insult with his life. She sets off into the warren of a castle to complete her task.

Explaining the murder to the King would ruin Malcolm’s social ambitions and probably get him killed as well, so he must find a guilty party and bring justice to them.
Such an investigative task is well beyond his limited intellect and so the Monks of God’s Mael, who have some very questionable experience in this sort of thing, are summoned to the task.

Progress is made by the mysteriously un-monk like Abbot whose dearest wish seems to be to keep his head down, and Hermitage, his over monk-like assistant, who keeps going on about God.

The King’s own personal investigator, Brother Simon turns up and things go rapidly down hill.
A talent for accusation and the ability to leap tall conclusions at a single bound, combined with more personality faults than a cart load of disordered donkeys have endowed Brother Simon with all the investigative skills of a rock. He declares an official suicide which everyone is happy to agree with despite the fact that it’s obviously wrong.

Before Simon can pack his bags Malcolm’s retainer, the disturbing Ethel(red) falls to his death through the rotten stonework in the privy. Simon is straight on the case but through his staggeringly inaccurate powers of deduction goes so far off it again that the Abbot and Hermitage find themselves making reluctant progress.

Picking up leads through a resourceful dwarf who has survived many months in Malcolm’s service by having ears everywhere they get hints of a mysterious group connected to recent events, the Brotherhood of the Sword, credited with organising the Saxon resistance. They proudly claim to have loosened masonry all over the castle and will only reveal locations for the complete surrender of the Normans. The Abbot tries to get out of all this, very quickly.

Foella is wandering the castle causing havoc and she discovers the Brotherhood hiding in the wood yard. She joins them as they seem to want to do Malcolm in - very comprehensively.

A second group infiltrate the castle with the same aim. This is the Brotherhood of the Sward and both groups have been labouring under the misapprehension that they are different cells of the same organisation, each with their own spy in the wood yard. In fact the Sward are environmental activists who want to stop the development of garderobes as they are the greatest threat to the countryside since hedges. They are horrified to discover they may have actually killed de Turold when all they meant to do was scare Malcolm with a crossbow bolt in the roof of his privy.

Brother Simon carefully assimilates all the information and concludes that this was an accidental death as he hasn’t managed to discover anything, despite the presence of two groups of actual murderers, one mad woman and two very suspect monks. He thinks Ethel fell off the toilet - which just goes to show!

In true Ellis Peter’s style everything is alright in the end!. Hugely relieved for a second time because Simon speaks with the King’s authority the Abbot and Hermitage leave quickly, the two Brotherhoods leave fighting, Foella still wanders the corridors seeking vengeance, Malcolm goes back to abusing his staff and Brother Simon moves on to his next case.

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Comments by other Members

Dee at 07:28 on 09 February 2006  Report this post
Howard, welcome to the S&O group. This is such a skilfully written synopsis it was difficult to find anything to comment on!

However, on a second read, I found a few minor picky-points.

he must find a guilty party and bring justice to them.
I keep stumbling over this line. I feel it should be bring them to justice, although that’s a bit of a cliché.

un-monk like ~ un-monk-like

The King’s own personal investigator, Brother Simon turns up and things go rapidly down hill.
You need a comma after Simon.

will only reveal locations for the complete surrender of the Normans.
might read better as:
will only reveal locations in return for the complete surrender of the Normans.
Or even:
will only reveal locations in return for a complete Norman surrender.

I like the style of this synopsis. It’s lively and funny and makes me want to read the story. Pretty damned good, in fact.

Hope this helps.


Nik Perring at 09:06 on 09 February 2006  Report this post
Welcome to the group, Howard.

Nice and lively synopsis you've written here. Aside from what Dee's already pointed out, I cou'dn't find anything wrong it either.

Good stuf.



Jekyll&Hyde at 10:07 on 09 February 2006  Report this post
Hi HowardM,

Great synopsis. 'Lord Malcom de Mob' - hilarious names throughout.

A parody, it had me gripped lol - there are so many detective books out there, this kind of parody would definitely find a place!

Is there any more to come? I wouldn't mind reading it :)


HowardM at 12:57 on 11 February 2006  Report this post
Many thanks for the comments and corrections guys, very encouraging. I just need to find out now why Agents keep sending it back!

Dee, thanks for the words, I was trying to make the "bring justice to him" a gag about executing whoever he finds but I think you're right in that it needs more clarity.

Ah well, plenty more Agents in the book yet.


Nik Perring at 08:58 on 13 February 2006  Report this post
Good luck with it, Howard.


Dee at 16:54 on 13 February 2006  Report this post
find out now why Agents keep sending it back!

Ah well, Howard. That's a mystery to all of us... ;)

Good luck


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