My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bookshelves: historical-fiction, whodunit, period-mystery, murder-mystery, i-am-an-anglophile
This book is a delightful break from straight-on romantic historical fiction and standard mystery fare. I enjoy historical fiction and I enjoy whodunits, and C.J. Sansom nicely combines the two in this story of a commissioner of Thomas Cromwell investigating a murder (or three) at a monastery slated for elimination during the Henrician reformation.
Very well set in its time, this story serves as a window to Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church and the victims of that break, including heretic papists generally and Anne Boleyn specifically, while maintaining its focus on a locked-room-style murder mystery at the fictional monastery at Scarnsea. Our hero, the hunchbacked lawyer and ardent reformer Matthew Shardlake, is a pleasure to read.
Very well done. It’s the first in a series of several books, and that makes me happy.