cover image Chalice of Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland

Chalice of Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland

Peter Tremayne. Minotaur, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-55121-6

In Tremayne’s superior 19th full-length seventh-century Irish historical (after 2010’s The Dove of Death), Sister Fidelma has decided to forsake her life as a religieuse, in order to apply for the position of Chief Brehon, the leading investigating magistrate, of her brother Colgú’s kingdom. Colgú makes Fidelma’s acceptance to the post conditional on her looking into an apparently impossible murder. Brother Donnchad, a renowned scholar, whose disposition had recently altered dramatically and who feared for his life, was found stabbed to death in his cell, though oddly he was lying on his bed “as if in repose.” In addition, the cell’s door was locked from the inside. To further complicate matters, Colgú designates Brother Eadulf, Fidelma’s long-standing companion, from whom she has become estranged, to assist her in the case. The clever solution, one of the author’s best, enhances a pitch-perfect reproduction of medieval Ireland. (Nov.)