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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Brother Cadfael Re-Read: The Confession Of Brother Haluin

I first read this some years ago, when it first came out. It's fifteen books into the series of twenty, so near the end. The last book, Brother Cadfael's Penance, felt like a last book, although it didn't have to be, only the author died not long after. Brother Cadfael had disobeyed his Abbot to go to the rescue of his son and was riding home, expecting trouble but thinking it worthwhile. That, I remember.

But this one, I read again yesterday at my mother's home, where I spend Friday nights, and remembered nothing.

I really wasn't in the mood for Vikki Wakefield's latest at the time - I prefer to read something familiar and comforting at bed time and curled up in bed on a weekend, when I don't have to get up at 6.00 am. And whatever I may have to say of Inbetween Days when I've finished, it's neither familiar(first time) nor comforting. And not meant to be comforting!

But I really didn't remember anything, it has been such a long time since I first read it. It did have some of the usual elements - Brother Cadfael accompanies someone on a journey, there's a sweet young couple who aren't allowed to marry for one reason or another(at least, not till the end of the book) and although there's a murder, the killer doesn't actually get executed.

And, as usual, Ellis Peters doesn't cheat her readers with last-minute information they couldn't possibly have known - more than can be said for Agatha Christie, who usually has Poirot announcing in his gather-all-the suspects meeting that he has received a telegram in answer to an inquiry he sent and his suspicions were confirmed! If you read any Brother Cadfael mystery carefully enough, you can usually work out whodunnit. You do need to read carefully and not take any character for granted as a minor character. At least you know it won't be any of the regulars(again - unlike Agatha Christie, who doesn't give you that comfort). That helps.

Anyway, it was a pleasure to re-enter the world of twelfth century England with our favourite herbalist monk!


2 comments:

Terry Morris said...

I'm fond of Brother Cadfael, especially since the TV series. Besides the historical aspect, which is always fun, the era was less lawful. That is to say, it couldn't be assumed, as you would these days, that justice needed to be served. So the characters have to have their own reasons for caring about a particular murder.

Meanwhile, I've been listening to a couple of Sarah Paretsky books. VI Warshawski be aging, presumably along with the author. In Hard Ball there are a couple of allusions to Obama.

Another book I listened to was Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood. I loved it. I especially loved the snide comments about politicians. Some of the comments date the story, but that's OK. Another thing I liked about it was the strong feeling of a women's community in the apartment block the narrator lived in. There are men in the story, but the women drive it. I enjoyed the feel of that.

I enjoy reading your posts: Your reading always seems to be associated with comfortable places like armchairs and bed. :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Terry! Well, I do read on the train, but reading is at its best when you curl up with a book. Especially after a long, cold, tiring work day - it's your reward for coping with it. ;-)

Yes, the Brother Cadfael series was wonderful and Detek Jacobi was perfect for the role - even Edith Pargeter aka Elllis Peters thought so. She said she would always imagine him in the role from then on.

I do love the Corinna Chapman novels and I have a couple in audiobook too. I don't know if you've ever met Kerry Greenwood, but I think Corinna IS Kerry. She has the same build and, like Kerry, loves cooking, but appreciates a cafe or restaurant meal. They are a bit dated in the politics and in the transport(how long has it been since you bought tram tickets?) and the mentions of the Stork hotel(long gone!) but not too dreadfully so. There are mobile phones, even if Corinna refuses to have one, and to Internet. More than can be said for a YA novel I'm reading at the moment which was published only last year and, halfway through, hasn't said, "Oh, by the way, this is set in the 1980s..."