Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Seventh Century Europe
This book is the 17th novel in Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma mystery series.
In Sister Fidelma, Tremayne has created a seventh century super sleuth. Fidelma is an Irish religieuse of the Roman Catholic Church. She is also a highly trained and respected lawyer of Irish law. Additionally, she is the sister of the current king of Munster. She is aided in her investigations by her husband, Eadulf. Eadulf is a Saxon religieux and hereditary gerefa of Seaxmund's Ham. Together they have a son, Alchu. In the seventh century, the rule of clerical celibacy was not widely accepted. Monks and nuns often were married. And there were abbeys and monasteries in which men and women lived and worked together.
In this episode of the series, the Pope has called a conference of church leaders to discuss matters relating to standardizing Catholic rules and beliefs. Fidelma, with Eadulf, has been asked to attend to serve as an adviser to Irish abbots on matters of Irish law. Just a few days before their arrival, one of the Irish abbots has been brutally murdered. The scene of the crime seems to indicate that one of two different abbots must have committed the murder. The leader of the monastery asks Fidelma to investigate in order to determine which bishop is guilty of the crime.
What seems to be an open-and-shut case soon becomes very complicated. Fidelma soon begins to uncover a wider mystery concerning missing persons and slavery. There is another murder, and Fidelma finds herself in danger. Can Fidelma, with Eadulf's help, connect all the clues to discover who is behind the crimes she uncovers?
I really enjoy Tremayne's Sister Fidelma novels. When ever I buy one, it moves to the top of my "to read" list. The novels are well written and are easy to read. The plots are well tangled, and I rarely figure out who-dun-it until the last chapter. The best part of all is when Fidelma reveals her solution to the mystery. Tremayne does this by having Fidelma present a case in a trial like setting. Often, a seemingly insignificant clue becomes vital in solving the mystery.
Best of all, is the character of Fidelma herself. She is a strong female character in a leading role. She is educated, well trained, secure in her position, dedicated to the truth and does not suffer fools. She is one of my best loved characters.
The Council of the Cursed
The first novel of the series - Absolution by Murder
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