Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Death on Lindisfarne by Fay Sampson

We met Aidan and Melangell in the first of The Aidan Mysteries, The Hunted Hare. (See my review of that book here.) Now Aidan has taken eight year old Melangell to a week stay on the British island of Lindisfarne for a course on the history of Northumbrian spirituality. It was one of the places that had inspired Jenny, Aidan's wife and Melangell's mother, to write her books. Aidan thought the time there might help in grieving the recent loss of Jenny.

Things go terribly wrong when one of the people at the retreat center is found dead. She was a troubled teen who had come with the retreat leader and Methodist minister, Lucy. Lucy had hoped the peace of the island would help the teen in her struggles. It is determined to be murder and everyone on the island is under suspicion. Aidan is faced with his second murder mystery.

This is a mystery for lovers of British history and Celtic spirituality. As Lucy lectures to those on the retreat, we learn much about the saints whose lives impacted the area including Aidan's namesake.

This is not a mystery with lots of action. It is in the style of British mysteries, dealing much more with the character of the individuals and their motivations than with action and suspense. Those who like Agatha Christie novels would like this one.

I did find telling the story from different characters' points of view a bit distracting. For example, we are privy to the thinking of Aidan and Lucy. I know that is the modern way to write but I do prefer a single point of view. Then I am on the same playing field as the major character.

Fay Sampson is a widely published author with a particular interest in fantasy and Celtic history. She has been shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize on three occasions and is a winner of the Barco do Vapor award. She is the author of The Hunted Hare.

Lion Fiction (distributed in the U.S. by Kregel Books), 256 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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