The Second Sleep

Robert Harris. Knopf, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-65669-2
Thriller Award–winner Harris (Munich) does a masterly job playing with readers’ expectations in this mystery set in 15th-century England. Fr. Christopher Fairfax has been dispatched by his bishop to Wessex to officiate at the funeral of Fr. Thomas Lacy, a parish priest who died in a fall. The assignment seems routine enough, but on reaching the town of Addicott St. George, he finds unexpected questions to answer. When he visits Lacy’s library, he learns that the man he’s about to inter in consecrated ground possessed numerous heretical volumes relating to an antiquarian society proscribed by the church. Eager to keep things uncomplicated, Fairfax proceeds with the funeral service as if he’d never seen the books, only to have the rites disrupted by an attendee who yells that Lacy’s death was not the result of “evil chance.” When foul weather delays Fairfax’s departure, he finds even more oddities, including the disappearance of the church register and an unsettling letter by a Cambridge professor found in a mass grave, which supports his suspicion that Lacy’s interest in the past was more than innocent scholarly curiosity. Few readers will pick up on the fairly planted clues. This is a clever complement to Harris’s debut mystery, Fatherland. 75,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/19/2019
Release date: 11/19/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-7352-7513-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-593-15493-9
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