I was handed this novel by a friend who looks out for books he knows I’ll enjoy. My only problem is that this is book 3 in quite a large series. And now, I’ll need to read the others.
‘The year of 1509 had brought a golden autumn to the west of Ireland.’
Mara O’Davoren, Brehon (Judge) of the Burren, attends the funeral of a much loved local priest. As the service ends and the party goes to leave the church through a less frequently used door, another body is discovered. The body is of Sorley Skerrett, a wealthy silversmith, and he appears to have been stung to death by bees. But Mara isn’t immediately convinced: Sorley Skerrett is the richest man in the kingdom, a greedy man distrusted by many, an outsider, with no shortage of people who disliked him.
So Mara O’Davoren sets out to find out more about Sorley Skerrett. As Brehon, she runs a law school, teaching six young law scholars. These young scholars are able to assist her in her investigation – which is just as well, because Sorley Skerret’s death is complicated by the fact that there are a number of people who might benefit from his death and it is not immediately clear who will be his heir.
Was Sorley Skerrett’s death an accident, or was it murder?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this historical crime fiction, set in sixteenth century Ireland. Mara is an interesting character: a woman in a powerful position, confident and capable as she draws out the information she needs to get to the truth. This is the third novel of a series, which I read purely by chance, and I’m keen now to read the first two. I enjoyed both the story and the setting, as well as the included snippets of the ancient laws of Ireland.