Fidelma is called upon to investigate the murder of the high king of Ireland. The murder itself seems to pose little mystery: the murderer was found in the king’s bedroom with a bloody knife in his hand. On being discovered he plunged the knife into his own heart. But the king’s successor wants to know whether the murderer acted alone or in concert with others.
This was a better novel than the preceding two in the series - slightly less pedantic, better plot, more interesting storyline. It is very difficult to sustain a mystery series, but Tremayne seems to have succeeded. The Fidelma character is mellowing out slightly. The fact that her character has changed at all sets Tremayne apart from most authors of mystery series, who seem to feel that any change or growth in the main character is out of bounds.
Dancing with Demons has most of the elements of the other books in the series: Fidelma’s dogged determination and unwillingness to jump to conclusions until the facts are in; Eadulf lands in mortal danger; Caol and Gorman are doughty and loyal; and Fidelma’s final summing-up contains a few surprises.
I would recommend this book to readers of the series as well as to someone new to the series.