Shroud for the Archbishop

by Peter Tremayne


Reviewed by Coral

Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf are both in Rome, having traveled there for very different reasons. Eadulf is there as part of the entourage of Bishop Wighard, soon to be named Archbishop of the Saxon kingdom. Fidelma is there to pass along messages from the Archbishop Ultan and to have the rules of her Abbey blessed by His Holiness, the Pope.

Disaster soon strikes, as Wighard is found murdered in his room, the gifts he brought to Rome stolen from his trunk, and an Irish monk apprehended fleeing the scene. Now, afraid this is a precursor to a war between the Irish and Saxon kingdoms, the bishops in Rome turn to Fidelma and Eadulf for help in proving the Irish monk's guilt.

But as Fidelma and Eadulf investigate the crime it soon becomes evident that finding the truth behind Wighard's murder will not be so simply done.

Considering how little I liked the first book in this series, I really should have known better than to read this one. But I was curious to see if it was only a fluke that had me figuring out the killer or if these mysteries were really so simple that I'd be able to do it again. It wasn't a fluke. Admittedly, I didn't have the motive right this time, but I had the killer figured out pretty early on. It didn't feel as obvious as last time which, I guess, is a small victory for the author.

Fidelma's character wasn't much better in this novel. She still acts like she's superior to the rest of the world, as if everyone else is backward, misguided and wrong. She's also kind of a hypocrite, lecturing a princess turned Sister about how her rank means nothing, that they are all equals in the eyes of the church, while Fidelma acts anything but an equal to anyone, still holding to her title as an Irish judge. Plus, she's still unnecessarily harsh and bitchy to the people she questions. Sure, they may be stupid, but I don't get why that seems to entitle them to being treated poorly.

Plus, not being a very religious person, I found all the religious speak and the debates to be quite boring.

But, even with all this, I may still continue reading this series. I may be a little addicted to the feeling I get when I realize I'm right about the killer's identity.

Grade: F