Matthew Shardlake is sent by Thomas Cromwell to the Monastery of St Donatus on the Sussex coastal marshes to investigate the murder of another royal servant. Hump-backed Shardlake and his good-looking sidekicj Mark Poer enter a corrupted monastic world in which every cardinal sin is on display. One monk is gay, lusting after Mark, another is a Christianized Moor from Spain, another is a harsh disciplinarian. More crimes ensue. Who is the murderer?
This is a classic whodunnit, like a mountain stream: twisting, fast-paced, and sparkling (although a little shallow). Homage is paid to Eco's Name of the Rose (the monastic library contains a copy of a lost work by Aristotle although it is a fake) and Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles (the murderers attempt to escape across the marshes) but it stands on its own and there is a nice twist at the end.
July 2014; 439 pages
Also see later books in the Shardlake series: Dark Fire and Heartstone.
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57