There is an art to reading these Fidelma novels: the art of skipping over vast tracts of irrelevant Irish history. Let’s practice!

Eadulf: Fidelma, what time is it?

Fidelma: The Eogannach learned the measurement of time during the reign of [[random Irish name]], when [[random Irish name]] from the abbey of [[random Irish name]], in the kingdom of [[random Irish name]], to the south of the river [[random Irish name]], …

Eadulf: But …

Fidelma: … west of the [[random Irish name]] mountains, to preside at the conference of [[random Irish name]] about the matter of the dispute between the [[random Irish name]] and [[random Irish name]] regarding the ownership of the valley of [[random Irish name]] ..

Eadulf: But I just want to know …

Fidelma: … [[random Irish name]] had traveled to [[random European place]] where he learned the idea that …

Well, you get the picture. This kind of thing can go on for paragraphs, and if you don’t want to drive yourself crazy you need to scan past all the historical references: they are rarely of any importance to the story. The publisher makes this fairly easy, by the way: if a paragraph is more than 10% italics, you can skip it. You will never remember all those random Irish names, so you might as well save your sanity.

The actual story, the murder mystery, is interesting enough, I guess. Plenty of red herrings. lots of suspects. The actual culprit seems pretty obvious from near the beginning, but there is no confirming evidence until Fidelma does her summing up at the end. Still, there are no major gaffes in the story (as far as I could tell), and Tremayne plays by the rules of the mystery game.

Overall, this is about on par with the rest of the novels in the series - and that’s saying something, because most mystery series tend to degrade over time.



Book cover

Metadata Info

  • Title: The Devil’s Seal (Sister Fidelma, #25)
  • Author: Peter Tremayne
  • Published: 2014
  • ISBN: 1472208315
  • Buy: Amazon search
  • Check out: Seattle library
  • Rating: 3.0 stars