cover image Death of a Heretic

Death of a Heretic

Peter Tremayne. Severn, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8966-9

In Tremayne’s superior 33rd mystery featuring seventh-century Irish law advocate Sister Fidelma (after 2021’s The House of Death), tragedy strikes the abbey of Imleach Iubhair, one of the kingdom’s most influential religious centers. An abbey guesthouse has just burned down, and its sole occupant, Bishop Brodulf, was found dead inside it. The cleric had been visiting from a region in Burgundy that has adopted the Roman Empire’s edicts concerning the only proper way to practice Christianity. Those doctrines have met resistance in Ireland, and Brodulf traveled to the abbey apparently to see how the faith was taught there. Despite the initial belief that he died from the fire, the discovery that he was stabbed through the heart before the conflagration gives Fidelma a homicide to solve. There’s no shortage of suspects, given Brodulf’s abrasive personality and the possibility that he came to the abbey to search for a noncanonical gospel stored in the abbey’s library. Tremayne juggles the different possibilities expertly, and the reveal is satisfying. This is an impressive achievement for a decades-old series. Agent: Euan Thorneycroft, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (Aug.)