Absolution by Murder

Peter Tremayne

Headline 1994
A book review by Danny Yee © 1997 http://dannyreviews.com/
Sister Fidelma, a young Irish religieuse, is attending the Synod of Whitby (664 AD), which will decide whether Northumbria will follow the rule of the Roman or Irish church. When one of the Irish delegation is found murdered, she ends up investigating, with arguments about the date of Easter raging and civil war looming. But several more deaths will occur before she uncovers the truth.

While the historical detail in Absolution by Murder seems impeccable — Tremayne is apparently a Celtic scholar writing pseudonymously — it is not well integrated into the novel, which fails to capture the spirit of another milieu: cosmetic changes would allow the dialogue and the characters to be transplanted to the twentieth century. Nor are the mystery elements particularly exciting or memorable. The combination worked well enough to keep me reading, but I can't really recommend Absolution by Murder, given the quantities of historical mystery fiction now available.

November 1997

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Related reviews:
- more historical mystery
%T Absolution by Murder
%A Tremayne, Peter
%I Headline
%D 1994
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0747246025
%P 274pp