Thursday, August 23, 2012

Historical Whodunit

Behold a Pale Horse
A Mystery of Ancient Ireland
By Peter Tremayne

Historical mysteries may seem like a non-starter. After all, these days we have such an abundance of crime-based TV shows featuring technological gadgets that you may wonder how many surprises a nun from ancient Ireland could possibly provide.

The answer, fortunately, is plenty. In the very first scene Sister Fidelma proves she can handle herself when attacked by a man wielding a cudgel. She's far from helpless, and her persistent curiosity drives the story here. The year is 664, and Fidelma is returning from a visit to Rome. While in the city of Genua waiting for a ship back to her homeland she rescues a monk from two thugs following him down a dark alley. The grateful man tells her he lives at an Abbey where Brother Ruadán, an old teacher of hers, now resides. Because her old teacher is in very bad health, Fidelma decides she must visit the Abbey to see him one last time. When she arrives, she discovers a scene of unease and tension. Brother Ruadán warns her that all is not right concerning the death of a young shepherd who lived on the nearby mountain. Before Fidelma can learn more her teacher is found dead under suspicious circumstances. Though surrounded by people claiming to be friendly, she has too many questions to feel comfortable. Who can she trust? How can she stop the murders starting to pile up? And why is everyone so tense in this little valley?

A complex mystery that starts small but grows quickly into something more, this book examines a landscape in the midst of roiling political change during a time when questions of religion were sometimes decided in battle. Fortunately, Fidelma is there to save the day.

The Killing Way
By Tony Hays

If you prefer something a little more Arthurian, this may be the book for you. The setting is ancient England in the time of Arthur. But Arthur isn't the king yet, Guinevere lives down the lane, and Merlin isn't particularly magical. The book goes for gritty and realistic, using characters we know from legend, or at least from Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Throw in a murder and a one-armed sleuth and you've got a British mystery with more Saxons than Miss Marple ever ran into.

This is just the beginning to a series that has received excellent reviews. Click here to see other books by Tony Hays. Or click the titles or covers of the books above to request them.

Review by Danny Hanbery

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