Review: The Second Death

The Second Death by Peter Tremayne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peter Tremayne must be using a formula to write Sister Fidelma stories: include one or more of the following elements:

1. New Faith (Christianity) versus Old Faith (pagan/ Druidism);
2. Celtic Church versus Roman Church;
3. Muman-Laighn-Osraige (who should Osraige pay tribute to);
4. Tensions over the High Kingship; and
5. maybe Eoganacht versus non-Eoganacht (ethnic clash over who should rule Muman).

At least this is true in the later books. That does not mean the formula is bad because it is a reflection of the signs of the times that Fidelma and Eadulf lived in.

The Second Death contained two of them and kept me guessing to the end. This is good in a murder mystery because if you can solve this in the first nine pages, then it is not a good book. Unfortunately, Tremayne does not deviate from his other MO: slightly repetitive establishing the facts and Fidelma having to pull rank on someone who treats her without the proper respect as an anruth and the sister of the King. You know, after 7 years, when Fidelma shows up, people should have learned by now it’s best not to play power games with her.

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