Friday, 18 February 2000

Peter Tremayne: The Monk Who Vanished (1999)

Edition: Headline, 1999
Review number: 440

The latest Sister Fidelma mystery shows no real signs of improvement, having the same plot once again. This time the threat to her brother Colgu's throne is an all out assassination attempt in his capital at Cashel rather than a dark plot in the corners of the kingdom of Muman (better known by its Viking name of Munster). There are distinct signs of cheating, as when Fidelma looks at a sword and says that its use of animal teeth is a speciality of the art of one of the Irish kingdoms but she can't remember which one. Surely that's not the way that people remember things; she might more plausibly realise that there's something special about the sword but not be sure what it is.

All the real interest, all the character development, comes in the epilogue; at last something changes in her relationship with the Saxon Eadwulf; at last she might leave Muman and go somewhere new. But none of this is prepared; it all comes as a surprise. Thus, the next Sister Fidelma novel might be worth reading, but if it isn't I'll finally give up on the series.

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