Thursday, May 05, 2005

Historical mysteries

Dissolution by C.J. Sansom

I read this book in order to participate in a discussion of it on the 4 Mystery Addicts group. When I first read the description of the book, I was going to pass on the discussion. Historical mysteries are not my first choice of reading material. But, on a whim, I ordered it from the library. Even then, it was a couple of days before I went down and checked it out.

I'm very glad that I did read it. This book was well written and very informative. It takes place during the English Reformation at the time when Thomas Cromwell was calling for the dissolution of all monasteries. I have, of course, heard of the Reformation but that was about the extent of my knowledge. If asked about it before I read this book, I don't think I could have answered any questions at all. Now I have a basic knowledge of the English Reformation. And, I'd like to learn more about it.

Dr. Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer who works for Thomas Cromwell. He believes strongly that the Catholic Church needs to be stripped of much of it's wealth, political power, and religious rites. When a commissioner for Cromwell is murdered while trying to coerce the closing of a monastery in Scarnsea, Cromwell sends Shardlake and his clerk to investigate the murder and get the abbott to surrender the monastery.

I can't say that this story had me on the edge of my seat at any point but the historical detail, the well drawn characters, and the intricate puzzle Shardlake has to solve were more than enough to keep my interest throughout this book.


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