Sunday, December 14, 2008


Pages: 385
Date: 14/12/2008
Grade: 5
Details: no. 1 Burren Mystery
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The year is 1509. In England young Henry VIII has just become king, but the Burren on the west coast of Ireland is not yet under English law. Here the old laws still govern, and justice is maintained and enforced by Brehons, local judges.
Mara is such a Brehon and has to investigate the murder of her assistant. On May day he joined other locals on top of Mullaghmore Mountain for the lighting of the traditional bonfire, but he was the only one not coming back from the mountain. And, although lots of people must have passed his slain body on the way down, nobody said a thing.
It soon appears that the young man was a scrupulous blackmailer and that lots of people had reasons for wanting him dead. It's down to Mara to find the murderer and restore justice to her community. However, this murder is not the only crime in need of solving, and king Turlough Don O'Brien provides Mara with another dilemma to ponder.
This was a wonderful book; very well written by a very knowledgeable author, with characters that really come alive. The setting, time and customs are described in such a way that they feel real and natural. I love the idea of Brehon law, as it is based on the principles of confession, forgiveness and compensation.
Even if the mystery itself had been disappointing I would have loved this book, but fortunately the mystery was as good as the rest of the book.

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