The Monk Who Vanished
St. Martin's Press, January, 2001.
Hardcover, 288 pages.
In A.D. 666, Sister Fidelma, a religieuse and dálaigh or advocate of the Irish courts, is visiting her brother Colgú, the King of Muman when disaster strikes. The King of Muman and his longtime enemy, the Prince of the Uí Fidgente, have come together to make peace. But a would-be assassin attacks, leaving booth the Prince and the King wounded. Naturally, each side believes the other is to blame, and the King calls in Fidelma to investigate the matter. Fidelma's investigation takes her and her friend, Brother Eadulf to the Abbey of Imleach. The Abbey has recently had its sacred relics stolen, and one of its monks is missing, leaving behind in his room a pool of blood. Could the two incidents be related? As Fidelma investigates, she finds political intrigue, treachery and a murderer who will not stop until his goals are achieved -- no matter what the cost.
The Monk Who Vanished brings us Sister Fidelma's most personal case yet; if she does not find the traitor and assassin, her brother could literally lose his kingdom. Fidelma is a passionate and intelligent woman, whose enthusiasm sometimes gets the best of her. Nevertheless, she prefers to use her brain to solve a problem. And although she may not admit it to herself, she is more than a little fond of the Saxon monk, Eadulf, who at times seems to play Watson to her Sherlock Holmes in these investigations. Tremayne ups the ante with a bit of a cliffhanger at the ending, which is sure to have fans of Fidelma and Eadulf biting their nails with worry until the next book comes out. Peter Tremayne does a tremendous job of making 7th century Ireland familiar and accessible to modern day readers. His depiction of the lush beauty of Ireland with a most intriguing mystery makes for hours of blissful reading for historical mystery fans.
--Claire E. White
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