Saturday, March 14, 2009
AUTHOR: C.J. SANSOM
Details: no. 1 Shardlake Mystery
The year is 1537 and in England the reformation is in full swing. Under the leadership of Thomas Cromwell commissioners are send out to investigate the countries monasteries. The ultimate aim is dissolution; to close the monasteries down.
One of Cromwell's commissionaries, Matthew Shardlake, is send to the monastery of Scarnsea. And earlier commissioner has been murdered there, and it's up to Matthew to find out who decapitated Robin Singleton, as well as find a reason to close the place down.
Matthew soon finds that there are lots of mysteries about the place, and before long more murders follow the first one. As disturbing as this is, Matthew is far more disturbed when he finds that his investigation leads him to question everything he believed in about religion, the reformation and those in charge of it.
The reformation makes for an interesting if bleak back drop for a murder investigation, and I enjoyed the historical setting and descriptions a lot. The author obviously knows a lot about this period and shares that knowledge in such a way that it enhances the story.
There is so much happening in this mystery that I kept turning the pages, and I would never have guessed the identity of the murderer.
The only minor down point about this novel was that I couldn't quite get to like Matthew Shardlake, and since he is the main character and the one through who's eyes we see events developing, that fact jarred the reading experience a bit. However, the ending of the book seems to suggest that this may improve in subsequent books, and I will definitely read more.