I’ve read all the books in this series, but find it harder and harder with each novel. Is it even possible that the author could be more pedantic? I don’t think so. It’s bad enough that we are constantly treated to obscure legends and rambling stories told around a campfire, but the constant lessons in Irish vocabulary are just exasperating. And that’s not to mention the ridiculous excursions into the finer points of 7th century Irish law, complete with citation of precedents and counter-arguments. Give us a break!
On the other hand, Tremayne is really good at setting up a complicated plot, leaving enough evidence along the way for a solution to be found, but not so much that the reader (this reader) is wondering what’s taking Fidelma so long to find the solution. He plays by the rules of the game: we know what she knows; each piece of evidence contributes to the solution (though sometimes to the solution only of a smaller side-mystery); and the summing up accounts for all the evidence. In this novel Tremayne went even further and added a kind of elegant symmetry to the mystery’s solution that one seldom finds even in the best of mystery novels.
So I’m glad I didn’t set the book aside after the first few chapters, as I was sorely tempted to do. But equally, I have no hope that Tremayne will ever give up the plodding pedantry that so mars this series.