cover image Penance of the Damned: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland

Penance of the Damned: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland

Peter Tremayne. Minotaur, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-11964-3

Treymane’s strong 27th whodunit set in seventh-century Ireland (after 2016’s The Second Death) combines significant developments concerning the Irish legal system with a seemingly impossible crime. Law advocate Fidelma, whose brother is Colgú, king of the region of Muman, is stunned to learn of the murder of an old friend, Abbot Ségdae, “a pillar of the stability of the kingdom as well as the church.” The evidence against the man accused of the crime, Gormán, who’s the commander of Colgú’s guard, is overwhelming. After a cry was heard from the locked room where he and the abbot were conferring, the door was broken down. Inside, Ségdae was lying dead on he floor from two stab wounds to the chest; next to the body was Gormán, clutching a bloody knife. Gormán’s claim that he was knocked unconscious by the real murderer is discounted, and he faces imminent execution unless Fidelma can find evidence to exonerate him. The added question of what system of justice is to govern Gormán’s case elevates this above some other series entries. [em]Agent: Charles Schlessiger, Brandt & Hochman. (July) [/em]