by Florence B. Weinberg
Father Ygnacio Pfefferkorn, a missionary stationed in northwestern Mexico, is expelled with all Jesuits in 1767. After ten years of prison, eight in Spain, he is incarcerated in La Caridad Monastery and befriended by Bother Eugenio, scribe, Father Plácido, choirmaster, and Father Leopoldo, instructor of boys.
La Caridad is locked in conflict with the bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo to determine jurisdiction over Robledillo, a rich parish. Two murders are committed and an ancient charter, granting the monastery perpetual jurisdiction over neighboring lands and villages, is stolen. The abbot recruits Ygnacio to solve the murders and recover the charter.
Ygnacio suspects Leopoldo, whose sister Clara is attracted to Ygnacio, although he resists his own attraction. He surprises Leopoldo in the act of trading the charter to the bishop for personal gain. Leopoldo flees to the cathedral tower, where Ygnacio corners him, only to find him innocent. The real murderer, the fanatical Fr. Plácido, threatens to throw Ygnacio off the tower, but is thwarted by Clara's timely intervention. Instead, it is Plácido who falls to his death.