Monday, 3 March 2008

Dancing with Demons by Peter Tremayne


SISTER Fidelma is a seventh-century private eye, not to mention being a nun and married with a child. Busy lady.

She's the subject of a rake of international best-sellers - novels and short stories in which she investigates the troubles of an obviously crime-ridden mediaeval Ireland.

Assisting her is her faithful sidekick (and now husband), the Saxon monk Eadulf, a gormless but sweet man who serves as her Doctor Watson.

Sister Fidelma has fans around the world, who bring wads of tourism revenue to Cashel during the annual Féile Fidelma, and her stories are a series on German radio. The early editions are now collectors' items.

In Dancing with Demons, Sister Fi is called in to probe the assassination of the High King Sechnussach. Sechnussach was an actual High King who was really killed, by the way.

It appears that the cult of Crom Croích has come back in a big way in the less-Christian hinterlands. (CC was a rough-stuff god who hung out with 12 sub-gods and liked a drink of blood).

When Sister F heads for the High King's killer's homeland to ask a few questions, she stumbles on burnt-out monasteries and the bloody bodies of religious.

But soon she's sorted it all out with her keen monastic mind and unerring moral sense, and it's time for a showdown where the guilty will be exposed.

There's a slight ho-humness about Dancing with Demons, which is natural after a long series. But for Fi fans, it's another winner.

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