cover image Music of the Distant Stars

Music of the Distant Stars

Alys Clare, Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6941-8

At the start of Clare's engaging third Aelf Fen medieval mystery featuring apprentice healer Lassair (after February 2010's Mist over the Water), Lassair discovers a second body in the grave of her recently deceased grandmother, that of a pregnant young seamstress. Sir Alain de Villequier, a Norman knight and the local justiciar, seeks the killer, but Lassair, with her mystical powers, may prove more effective in discovering who strangled the girl, if only she can keep her imagination and her tongue under control. The charming, compassionate Sir Alain, Lassair learns, had more than a passing interest in the victim. Clare deftly evokes the tension between the Norman overlords and the Saxon natives of the fens as the former try to impose both Norman law and religion on the latter, who remain under the spell of the old religion. The murderer's identity will surprise most readers. (Dec.)