The Monk Who Vanished (Mystery of Ancient Ireland) by Peter Tremayne

Filed under:Fiction,Mystery,Series,Sister Fidelma — posted by Randolph on March 17, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

The Monk Who Vanished (Mystery of Ancient Ireland) by Peter Tremayne

This story begins with an attempted assination of two princes, one being the brother of Sister Fidelma. It appears to be an attempt from a neighboring kingdom, one with which they have poor relations. In another event, a monk disappears with a holy relic. As Fidelma investigates, things get much more complex. In a story full of conspiracies, feints, and hidden agendas, it is difficult to discern exactly what is going on. During a court session, in a classic ending, Sister Fidelma clarifies and explains all the events.

These stories are good at teaching about life and the times of 7th Century Ireland. This story explores life in a small town, a monastery, and a little about courts and legal processes. In addition to being a great story, this is a good book for any mystery lover, and particularly those interested in historical settings.

The Leper’s Bell by Peter Tremayne

Filed under:Mystery,Series,Sister Fidelma — posted by Randolph on July 6, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

The Leper's Bell by Peter Tremayne

This is a mystery set in 7th century Ireland. Sister Fidelma is dálaigh, an advocate for the law of Ireland. The nurse for her child was killed and the child is missing. It looks like a ransom, but things in mysteries are rarely as they first seem. This investigation leads down several paths with some good twists.

Overall, the mystery is well told and well thought out. The climax is very traditional, where Sister Fidelma gathers all the suspects together and walks us through the clues. And the results are solid.

Peter Tremayne presents a very good picture of ancient Ireland. He often uses ancient terms, but is good about explaining their meaning. The culture and practices suggest that he has a thorough knowledge of ancient Ireland, he even includes a brief historical note and a pronunciation guide.

There is also a useful list of characters and their roles at the beginning of the book. Since this was my first book of the series, I found it very useful.

Overall, the book is a pleasant and easy read, as long as you don’t have to actually solve it. My one complaint is that the gaelic terms are difficult to read and do slow down the reading. The pronunciation guide is at the end and may have worked better at the beginning, or at least let the reader know it’s there. I guess I don’t read ahead in my mysteries.



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace