The little valley was an Eden until a serpent struck…

Blood in Eden by Peter Tremayne

Sister Fidelma, later in the series Lady Fidelma of Cashel, is a dálaigh or lawyer in the courts of ancient Ireland, qualified to one level below a judge. With her companion and later husband, the Saxon Brother Eadulf, himself a sort of sheriff in his native country, they solve mysteries in Ireland and beyond. The stories are set in the 660’s.

Returning to Cashel, Fidelma and Eadulf seek shelter at an inn only to find it burned down. Going on into a picturesque village, they are just in time to prevent the hanging of a black man.

There has been a quadruple murder and the man, a wanderer in the area has been accused. A religieux calling himself Father Gadra has ordered him hanged without trial. He preaches the Roman penitentials and calls the laws of Ireland pagan, and Fidelma someone with no authority over him.

Thus begins a murder mystery that will involve more death, another attempt at a hanging, travel to a remote abbey, and a lengthy investigation before the serpent is discovered causing blood to be spilled in Eden…

I give the book a resounding five stars

Quoth the Raven…

Legends of supernatural shapeshifters cloud the secrets of this mystery!

The Shapeshifter’s Lair by Peter Tremayne

Sister Fidelma, later in the series Lady Fidelma of Cashel, is a dálaigh or lawyer in the courts of ancient Ireland, qualified to one level below a judge. With her companion and later husband, the Saxon Brother Eadulf, himself a sort of sheriff in his native country, they solve mysteries in Ireland and beyond. The stories are set in the 660s.

A peddler comes to the Abbey of the Blessed Cáemgen to report a body on the side of the trail. The body turns out to be Brehon Brocc. His companions, Princess Gelgéis and her steward, Speláin are missing!

Princess Gelgéis is engaged to King Colgù, brother of Fidelma. Word is sent to Cashel, and Colgù sends Fidelma and Eadulf to investigate. Since the Abbey lies in Laigin, recently at war with Muman and King Colgù over the territory of Osraige and tribute, this is met with some trepidation.

There are times when Fidelma and Eadulf find themselves in danger from the various Lords of the region and their bodyguards. A powerful local Lord has them kidnapped and brought to his castle. He is a proud man and may or may not be involved in the disappearance of Princess Gelgéis. Certainly, he has no great love for Muman and Colgù, and worries about the marriage causing Muman to gain more power.

An old lady keeps telling Fidelma that shapeshifters are real and that she isn’t seeing the real picture. The trail will be long and bloody to the final shapeshifter’s lair.

I give the book a tremendous five stars. Probably the best yet.

Quoth the Raven…