THE SECOND DEATH: a Sophia Rose Review

The Second Death

THE SECOND DEATHby Peter Tremayne
Sister Fidelma #26
Historical Mystery
Macmillan/Minotaur Books
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 7.26.16| Pages: 352

REVIEWER: Sophia Rose

eARC provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Ireland, A.D. 671. It is the beginning of the summer season and the Kingdom of Muman is preparing to celebrate the Great Fair of Cashel. It is an extravagant nine days of contests, food, and endless entertainment. Circumstances have led Fidelma and Eadulf far and wide across the kingdom, and they have been absent from the Great Fair for many years. But, for once they haven’t been called away from Cashel, and are eager to enjoy the festivities – that is, until the last wagon in a group traveling to the fair catches on fire. The driver dies and it appears that the driver was a woman disguised a boy, for reasons unknown. Eadulf, upon further inspection, finds an even more disconcerting discovery – a rotting corpse in back of the wagon. Now, with only a week left to the fair, it is up to Fidelma and Eadulf to solve the mystery in time.



Old Faith Vs. New Faith Vs. Murder

It has been some time since I picked up a book from the Sister Fidelma series. I love these and I knew I would be in for a treat. The lush depiction of 7th century Ireland, the well-drawn characters, and cunning mysteries draw in and keep me there.

Sister Fidelma, sister to the King of Muman, a former religious, and renowned dalaigh (court lawyer/investigator) and her husband, Eadulf the Briton and former Roman monk are back in action with a new mystery when Eadulf stumbles on two puzzling deaths connected to a caravan of entertainers for the Fair of Cashel and maybe a connection to the old Druid faith.

The mystery was fascinating as I tried to puzzle out how the pieces fit together because they seemed totally random at first. Later in the story, the clues came easier and faster.

The blend of historical detail and mystery is such a strong point. This series reads much like a historical fiction with a mystery and that is good to keep in mind so expectations are in the right place. Religion is in flux in Ireland as is the ancient law codes and political atmosphere so it makes for good philosophical portions and action packed plots for the wife and husband detecting team to show their stuff.

I loved the story, but I did have one little niggle. Fidelma gets really crotchety at one spot with Eadulf dismissing that he might have a good idea now and then. She never apologizes for being a beast to him. Was it bad of me to enjoy seeing her discover that Eadulf was the one to get her on the right track more than once?

Anyway, this has me rarin’ to go and continue with the series plus go back for the ones I still haven’t read from earlier in the series. Those who enjoy well-researched historical fiction with an equally strong mystery should pick these up.


Links Blue Horizontal