The Shapeshifter’s Lair

Peter Tremayne. Severn, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8964-5
Tremayne returns to top form in his atmospheric 31st whodunit set in seventh-century Ireland (after 2019’s Blood in Eden). Law court advocate Sister Fidelma, who’s the sister of King Colgú of Muman, is frustrated. After an unsuccessful effort to become Chief Brehon, or legal arbiter, for her brother’s regional kingdom, she’s been reduced to serving as the monarch’s legal adviser, relegated to studying new decisions from an appellate court. A fraught murder mystery relieves her boredom. A colleague, Brehon Brocc, who was travelling with Princess Gelgéis, Colgú’s fiancée, was found lying on a mountain track in an area rumored to be haunted by shape-shifting beings. Someone first shot Brocc with an arrow before slitting his throat, and the discovery of his corpse coincides with the disappearance of the princess, who was instrumental in foiling a plot to dethrone Colgú, and the princess’s steward. Fidelma investigates, only to find that a key witness, the peddler who came across Brocc’s body, has been killed. Tremayne expertly incorporates historical and legal details of the time into the suspenseful plot. This impressive volume bodes well for future series entries. Agent: Euan Thorneycroft, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/29/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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