Friday, June 1, 2012
Review of Badger's Moon by Peter Tremayne
Peter Tremayne knows how to make sure his readers keep coming back for more of his work. One way is to write spell-binding mysteries rich with ancient Irish lore, customs and laws. Another way is to end a story with a cliff-hanger so shocking you’re forced to reach for the next novel.
He ends Badger’s Moon with such a cliffhanger. He ended Act of Mercy with Fidelma receiving a message that Brother Eadulf had been charged with murder, making the reader snatch up Our Lady of Darkness. I won’t put any spoilers in my review of Badger’s Moon but I made sure I had the next novel.
Badger’s Moon opens with Fidelma and Eadulf caring for their young son as they have agreed to a trial marriage. Fidelma drops the bombshell about the baby in the last sentence of The Haunted Abbot.
She and Eadulf are summoned to a village where three girls have been slaughtered, one each during the last three full moons. The villagers suspect strangers from across the sea are to blame. Their dark skin and strange language have stirred feelings of prejudice and hate. An angry mob appears at the abbey demanding their release.
Fidelma, in her usually snippy manner, relentlessly delves head-first into the investigation, demanding answers from everyone. Brother Eadulf becomes concerned as she is so focused on the mystery, Fidelma seems to have pushed their son completely from her mind. Both of them know she has changed but she refuses to discuss it.
Eadulf also worries that Fidelma is pursuing the matter of abandoned gold mines in the area rather than focusing on the seemingly ritualistic murders of the three young girls. Especially when a band of Ui Fidgente, enemies of Fidelma’s brother Colgu, king of Cashel, is seen in the area.
As usual, Fidelma plays her cards close to her chest and doesn’t reveal her thoughts until in true Tremayne fashion, she calls everyone together and delivers a sermon-like soliloquy for her conclusions.
Sometimes, Tremayne’s works are like reading a lesson book on ancient Irish culture with a mystery backdrop to make the education more interesting. However, both mystery and lesson in Badger’s Moon are interesting and exciting with an Agatha Christie-esque ending.