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.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace