I don't know how Ashes of the Elements ended up on my bookshelves - maybe my dad bought it at Atlantic because he thought I might like it. I did, but probably not enough to hunt down the rest of the series.
The book starts with the murder of a poacher, not far from the gates of Hawkenlye Abbey. Abbess Helwise stumbles on the body (almost literally). The Sheriff of Trowbridge decides that the forrest people are responsible for the death. Helwise doesn't trust his methods or agree with his conclusion so when a second poacher dies a similar death, she consults Josse D'Acquin who has recently been granted a nearby manor. After a night in the forest, the two friends solve both this mystery and answer some nagging questions about the true identity of a postulate who'd been abandoned as an infant. I found Ashes of the Elements amusing and well-plotted, but forgettable.