Category Archives: Ellis Peters

Packed Together Like a Can of Sardines*

In Agatha Christie’s Hickory Dickory Dock, Hercule Poirot works with Inspector Sharpe to find out who killed one of the residents of a hostel. As a part of the investigation, Sharpe interviews the various residents. This is what one of them has to say:
 

‘‘There’s a lot of spite about here, Inspector.’
The Inspector looked at him sharply.
‘Now what exactly do you mean by a lot of spite about?’
But Nigel immediately drew back into his shell and became noncommittal.
‘I didn’t mean anything really – just that when a lot of people are cooped up together, they get rather petty.”
 

And there’s something to that. In this case, the hostel’s residents aren’t trapped. But there is a certain lack of privacy. That, plus the fact that they’re disparate people, adds tension to the story, and creates an interesting atmosphere.

Of course, Christie isn’t the only crime writer to make use of that strategy to build suspense. Put a group of people together, even if they are free to leave, and you’re bound to have differences. Reduce their privacy, and there’s an even bigger likelihood of petty and not-so-petty differences that can have all sorts of consequences.

We see that sort of atmosphere in Ellis Peters’ Cadfael series. Those novels take place in 12th Century England, at Shrewsbury Abbey. The monks and others who live there are not prisoners; they are free to leave (although it is complicated). But they are in a situation where they have little personal privacy. They are also at close quarters with very different sorts of people. Monks come from a variety of backgrounds, and have, of course, many different sorts of personalities. Through it all moves Cadfael, who became a monk after a career as a soldier. He’s spent plenty of time in the larger world, and it’s impacted his perceptions. That means he doesn’t always agree with his more sheltered fellow monks. But they are all Benedictine monks, and all expected to work together. There’s an interesting layer of tension in some of the novels as these differences, even pettiness, come up.

Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes takes place mostly at Leys Physical Training College, a physical education college for women. The college principal, Henrietta Hodge, has invited Miss Lucy Pym to give a lecture on psychology to the students. Miss Pym has recently written a major bestseller on the topic, and she is much in demand. She agrees to give the lecture, but it’s not long before she wonders about her decision. The early-morning wakeups, the unpalatable (to her) food, and so on are all unpleasant. Still, she goes through with her agreement. Then, she gets drawn into a case of murder when one of the students is killed in what looks like a terrible accident – or was it? One of the sources of tension in the story is disparate set of personalities, all cooped up together. The students and faculty are not trapped at the school, but the lack of privacy, and the different sorts of personalities, make for some very tense moments.

Nicolas Freeling’s Double Barrel is the story of the small town of Zwinderen. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows everyone. People are in the habit of leaving their curtains open, and it’s thought odd at best, and suspicious at worst, to claim any sort of real privacy. A series of vicious anonymous letters wreaks havoc in the town, causing two suicides and a mental breakdown. The local police haven’t gotten very far in finding out who is responsible for the letters, so Amsterdam detective Piet Van der Valk is seconded to Zwinderen. Part of the tension in this novel comes from the friction among some of the residents, and from the fact that people don’t really have very much private space.

Alison Gordon’s The Dead Pull Hitter features the Toronto Titans professional baseball team. None of the players is trapped on the team (at least, not in the physical sense), but they are expected to work together. Games aren’t won unless everyone works as a team. But they are different people, with different backgrounds and perceptions. And that can lead to some tension, especially when the team is on an ‘away trip’ where they have even less privacy than usual. Sports writer Kate Henry has a special interest in baseball. She travels with the team, she knows the team members well, and she has a solid sense of who gets along well, and who doesn’t. That ‘inside knowledge’ becomes useful when two of the team members are murdered. Staff Sergeant Lloyd ‘Andy’ Munro investigates the killings, and he finds Henry’s perspective to be helpful. For her part, she’s getting an exclusive set of stories. Each in a different way, the two find out what happened to the players, and who’s behind it all.

It’s not easy to be cooped up, as the saying goes, with little privacy. That’s especially true when there’s a disparate group of people. Tensions rise, and even if the people involved are not trapped, there can be all sorts of consequences, from petty spats to much, much worse. These are only a few examples. I know you’ll think of more.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Billy Joel’s A Room of Our Own.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Alison Gordon, Ellis Peters, Josephine Tey, Nicolas Freeling

Old Love*

Just because people break off relationships doesn’t mean they automatically stop caring for their exes. Sometime, the breakup is amicable, and the two people remain friends, or they are colleagues who can work together. Sometimes, one of the two wants to rekindle the romance. Other times, it’s just what you might call fond memories.

Whatever is the case, there is often a bond between former lovers. And that’s part of why we see so many crime novels in which an old flame asks the sleuth for help, or in which the sleuth offers help because of that former relationship. That trope can add tension to a story, as well as backstory on a character.

For instance, in Patricia Wentworth’s Grey Mask, Charles Moray returns to England after a four-year absence. The reason he left was mostly his breakup with his fiancée, Margaret Langton, but Moray’s trying not to let that prevent him from taking up his life again. He returns to his family home, only to find that it’s being used by a criminal gang led by a man called Grey Mask. Moray discovers that they seem to be planning to kidnap an heiress in order to get at her money. Worse, he sees that one of the people mixed up in this plot is his former fiancée. Moray doesn’t know at first whether Margaret is in danger or has willingly become a criminal. Either way, though, he worries for her, and decides to do some sleuthing. A friend gives him the name of Miss Maude Silver, and Moray goes to see her. With her help, and help from his friend, Archie Millar, Moray uncovers the truth about Grey Mask, the gang, and Margaret Langton.

Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael is a monk who lives and works in 12th-Century England. He joined the clergy a bit later in life than a lot of other monks, and so, has a past. And part of that past is a woman named Richildis, whom we meet in Monk’s Hood. In that novel, Brother Cadfael is called to the bedside of Gervase Bonel. That in itself isn’t surprising, as Cadfael is an herbalist. What is shocking is that Bonel has been poisoned by monkshood oil that was taken from Cadfael’s supplies. The first and most likely suspect is Bonel’s stepson (and Richildis’ son), Edwin. But Cadfael isn’t sure he’s guilty. So, in part because he cares about Richildis, Cadfael looks into the matter to find out who really killed the victim.

In Surender Mohan Pathak’s The Colaba Conspiracy, key maker and locksmith Jeet Singh is trying to live a ‘straight and narrow’ life after a career as a lockbreaker and safecracker. Now, he owns a Mumbai kiosk where he’s trying to make an honest, if not lucrative, living. One day, Singh gets the chance to earn a great deal of money by doing another underworld job, but he refuses. He thinks that will be the end of his lawbreaking days, until he gets a visit from a former lover, Sushmita.  She is in trouble and needs his help. It seems that her wealthy husband, Pursumal Changulani, was killed in what looked like a carjacking incident that went wrong. But other evidence suggests that this was a professional killing, and there is a suspicion that Sushmita hired the killer. She says that she is innocent and is being targeted by her stepchildren, who claim she was never legally married to their father and is therefore ineligible to inherit. In order to clear her name, and inherit, she’ll need a good lawyer, which she can’t afford. And she won’t have access to any of her husband’s money until the matter is resolved. Singh still has feelings for Sushmita. Besides, if she is innocent, she should be cleared of suspicion. So, he agrees to help. And that’s what pushes him to take on that one last illegal job – and gets him into grave danger.

Martin Edwards’ All the Lonely People features Liverpool solicitor Harry Devlin. He makes his living defending the ‘down and out’ people, so he’s not exactly getting rich. Still, he’s dedicated to doing the best job he can. One day, he gets a surprise visit from his ex-wife. Liz. She tells him that she’s run away from her current lover, Mick Coghlin, because she’s afraid of him. Then, she asks Devlin to let her stay with him for a few days. Devlin is hoping he and Liz can reconcile, so he agrees. Then, two nights later, Liz is murdered, and her body found in an alley. Devlin feels a burden of guilt, because he didn’t take her fears very seriously at first. Besides, he still cares about Liz. So, he decides to find out who murdered her. At first, it seems clear that Coghlin is the killer. But, as Devlin learns more about Liz’ last months and weeks, he also learns that there are other possibilities.

There’s an interesting case of an old flame in Dick Francis’ Whip Hand. Former jockey Sid Halley’s racing career ended when his left hand was permanently injured. Later (see Odds Against for the details) he lost that hand. With his riding days over, Halley’s become a racetrack investigator. In one plot thread of this novel, he is approached by his former father-in-law, Charles Roland. It seems that his daughter (and Halley’s ex-wife), Jenny, has gotten involved with a scam artist who calls himself Nicholas Ashe. His trick is to bilk people out of money using a fake charity, and now he’s used Jenny’s name in the scheme. This means that she’s under investigation for fraud. The only way to clear her name is to find Ashe, and that’s what Roland wants Halley to do. Halley ’s very reluctant at first. The divorce was a bitter one, and neither he nor Jenny want anything to do with each other. But Roland finally persuades Halley to look into the matter.

And that’s the thing about old loves and exes. Even after the relationship is over, there’s still often a bond. So, it’s not surprising that we see this plot point as often as we do in crime fiction.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of an Eric Clapton/Robert Cray song.  Happy Birthday, Mr. Clapton!

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Filed under Dick Francis, Ellis Peters, Martin Edwards, Patricia Wentworth, Surender Mohan Pathak

I Drank a Cup of Herbal Brew*

Many people prefer natural remedies when they’re ill, and natural solutions for well-being. So, they go to herbalists and herbal shops, rather than to regular pharmacies. In fact, those sorts of health care products are so popular that lots of pharmacies stock them as alternatives to other sorts of medicines.

Herbalism has a long history, too. For millennia, people relied on herbalists, because there weren’t antibiotics and other modern medicines. And even now that there are, people still use herbal remedies. So, it’s not surprising that herbalism and herbalists have found their way into crime fiction. Here are just a few examples; I know you’ll think of more than I ever could.

In Agatha Christie’s Five Little Pigs, we are introduced to Meredith Blake. As the older of two brothers, he inherited his family’s home and property. He had a real passion for herbs and herbalism, even dedicating a room to his special interest. He’d collected all sorts of information on the topic, too; and, although he wasn’t sought out for cures, he had a lot of background. Then, disaster struck. A long-time friend of the family, famous painter Amyas Crale, was poisoned one afternoon. And it turned out that the poison came from Meredith’s own supplies. He himself wasn’t accused of the murder, but has felt responsible since then. In fact, he shut up his room and stopped working with herbs and other plants. Crale’s wife, Caroline, was arrested, tried, and convicted in the matter, and died in prison a year later. There was plenty of evidence against her, and everyone assumed she was guilty.  Now, sixteen years later, the Crale case is being re-opened. Crale’s daughter, Carla, believes her mother was innocent, and wants her name cleared. She asks Hercule Poirot to look into the matter, and he agrees. To find out the truth, he interviews the five people (including Blake) who were on the scene at the time of the murder. From those interviews, and from written accounts that each person writes, Poirot finds out who really killed Amyas Crale, and why.

Fans of Ellis Peters’ Cadfael can tell you how important his skills as an herbalist are. He’s a 12th Century Benedictine monk who lives in the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury. A former soldier, he’s seen his fair share of life, and has traded it in, as they say, for the cowl. His specialty is herbs and other medicines, and he’s in charge of the abbey’s infirmary. In his line of work, he’s come to know a great deal about many different sorts of plants, and what they do. He uses them for healing, and he’s familiar with the effects of those that are poisonous. That background helps him in many of the mysteries he encounters.

Much of Elizabeth George’s Missing Joseph takes place in the small town of Winslough. Deborah and Simon St. James plan a trip there after Deborah meets the town’s vicar, Robin Sage, and is deeply impressed with him. By the time the couple get to the town, though, it’s too late. Sage has been killed. It seems that local herbalist Juliet Spence had invited Sage for a meal, and prepared a salad with water hemlock that she thought was wild parsnip. Since the food that she gave Sage was the last thing he was known to eat or drink, Spence is the most likely suspect. Simon St. James isn’t so sure it’s that simple, though, and asks his friend, Inspector Thomas Lynley, to investigate. One of the interesting things about this novel is the way that Juliet Spence is perceived because she is an herbalist. Not everyone is enthused about her interest…

Herbal and other natural approaches to healing and health are an important part of many African cultures. And plenty of people swear by the power of such medicines. For example, Kwei Quartey’s Darko Dawson series takes place in contemporary Ghana. Especially in urban areas such as Accra, people are familiar with, and make use of hospitals, modern antibiotics, and so on. But even those people also visit herbalists and makers of traditional remedies. In fact, Dawson’s own mother-in-law is a believer in herbalism, and takes her grandson (and Dawson’s son) to a traditional healer for a heart problem he has. And, as we learn in Wife of the Gods, this doesn’t exactly please Dawson, who is hoping to be able to afford the operation the boy needs. It’s an interesting look at the different perspectives on herbalism.

S.J.Rozan’s Lydia Chin is a Chinese-American PI who works in New York City’s Chinatown. On the one hand, she’s a 21st Century American, who lives a contemporary life. On the other, her family is traditionally Chinese, and her mother would like nothing better than for her to settle down, find a ‘proper’ Chinese husband and get married. That’s not the life that Chin wants, though. Still, she does respect her mother, and there are times when the traditional Chinese approach to healing is quite helpful. For instance, in China Trade, the first in this series, Chin is investigating a theft from a local art gallery. She knows that Mr. Gao, who owns the local apothecary, is ‘tuned in’ to all of the local gossip and knows everyone. His shop is popular, and he knows all of the traditional remedies, so he’s also quite well respected. And Chin finds that he’s a useful source of information. At one point in the novel, she’s injured (not life-threatening), and Mr. Gao sends over some herbal medicines. They work very well, and it’s an interesting look at how herbalists do their jobs.

And then there’s Miriam Kaplan, who goes by the name Meroe. She’s one of the regular characters in Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series. Meroe is Wiccan, and also has a thorough knowledge of herbs and natural remedies. She has a way, too, of responding calmly in an emergency, and that, too, is helpful when someone is ill. In more than one of the Corinna Chapman mysteries, Meroe shows her knowledge of herbs, and it proves very helpful.

Herbs and herbalists have been around for a very long time, and their expertise is valuable. There’s certainly an important place for modern antibiotics, surgery, and so on. But many people also believe in the healing power of herbs.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Paul Simon’s Spirit Voices.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Elizabeth George, Ellis Peters, Kerry Greenwood, Kwei Quartey, S.J. Rozan

In The Spotlight: Ellis Peters’ A Morbid Taste For Bones

Hello, All,

Welcome to another edition of In The Spotlight. Edith Pargeter, who often wrote under the name Ellis Peters, remains one of the best-known authors of historical mysteries. Her influence was such that, from 1999 to 2012, the Crime Writers Association (CWA) award for best historical novel was named for her. This feature has gone for far too long without spotlighting one of her novels, so let’s rectify that today. Let’s turn the spotlight on A Morbid Taste For Bones, the first of her Brother Cadfael novels.

Brother Cadfael is a 12th-Century Benedictine monk who lives in the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Shrewsbury. The abbey doesn’t have the relic of any saint, and Prior Robert is determined to have one. Then, one of the monks, Brother Columbanus, seems to have a healing experience at Saint Winifred’s Well in North Wales. Afterwards, he says that Saint Winifred has told him in a dream that her grave at Gwytherin, in Wales, has been neglected, and she wants her remains to be moved to a place that’s more accessible to pilgrims. Since the abbey lacks any saint’s relic, and since there now seems to be divine guidance to go to Gwytherin and retrieve Saint Winifred’s remains, Abbot Heribert gives permission for a party of monks to travel to Gwytherin. The group is led by Prior Robert; Brother Cadfael goes along to serve as translator, since he is Welsh. With permission from The bishop of Bangor and Owain Gwynedd (prince of Gwynedd), the monks set out.

When the monks arrive at Gwytherin, they are at first welcomed. But when Prior Robert reveals their purpose, things, change. Many of the people of Gwytherin do not want their saint to leave them. Others bristle at Englishmen telling them what to do. And the local priest, Father Huw, is unwilling to release the remains unless the freemen of the parish agree. One of the strongest objectors, Rhisiart, also happens to be a wealthy landowner with a lot of influence, so the visitors know that if he changes his mind, they’ll likely get what they want.

He doesn’t, though. In fact, his objections become more strenuous. Then, Rhisiart is murdered by what looks like an arrow. And the arrow happens to belong to Engelard, a transplanted Englishman who wants to marry Rhisiart’s daughter, Sioned. Because Rhisiart wouldn’t allow the marriage, Engelard is a natural suspect. But several people don’t think he’s guilty, and they include Cadfael. In fact, Cadfael discovers evidence that Rhisiart was dead before the arrow entered him.

Now, Cadfael has to look for the real killer, and he doesn’t have much time before the monks are set to leave with Saint Winifred’s remains. There are several possibilities, too. One is, of course, that the killer really is Engelard. Another is Peredur, who also wants to marry Sioned, and who could have killed the victim to frame his rival. But Rhisiart had made other enemies. And Cadfael isn’t blind to the fact that one of the monks might have been responsible. With the help of Sioned, Cadfael slowly gets to the truth about the murder. And, in the end, he finds a way to catch the killer and resolve the conflict between the monks and the people of Gwytherin.

The story takes place during the 12th Century, so readers learn quite a bit about that time. There’s the social structure of the day, the culture, and the daily life. There’s also the relationship between Wales and England, as well as the use of language. A word is also in order here about Peters’ writing style. It reflects the times, but uses modern enough word choice and sentence structure that it’s not hard to follow.

And, in keeping with the historical nature of the novel, the mystery is solved with the knowledge of the day. Brother Cadfael uses what he knows about illness, death, and so on to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  And he has the knowledge for it. As fans know, he is the abbey’s herbalist and also takes care of the sick. So, he’s thoroughly familiar with the medicine of the times. Since the story is told mostly from Cadfael’s perspective (third person, past tense), we learn other things about him, too. Unlike several of his abbey brethren, Cadfael became a monk a bit later in life (in his forties). So, he’s had plenty of secular experiences, including travel, service in war, and several relationships with women. All of this gives Cadfael a pragmatic view of life and of resolutions to conflicts. He’s not a ‘letter of the law’ sort of monk, and that makes him quite accessible to laypeople. His practical approach plays an important role in the story, too.

Several of the characters in the novel are monks, so we also learn quite a lot about the monastic life of the times. There’s a hierarchy at the abbey, which is more or less closely observed. Each monk has tasks to perform, and there’s a rhythm to the abbey’s daily life, mostly based on religious observance.

It’s also worth noting that the Church has a lot of power and authority in these times. So, the local people listen to what their priests say, and respect religious leadership as they do secular leadership. That doesn’t mean everyone’s blindly obedient, and we see that, too. But Peters makes it clear that those in the religious life have a great deal of influence.

The story isn’t at all what you’d call a ‘cosy’ mystery. Still, there’s little in the way of violence, and much of that is ‘off stage.’ And readers who dislike profanity will be pleased to know that there isn’t any in this novel.

A Morbid Taste For Bones is a medieval mystery set mostly in a small Welsh village. It features a look into the religious life as well as into the lives of those who lived in the ‘real world’ of the 12th Century. And it introduces a sleuth who uses what he knows about people, herbs, illness and medicine to do his best to make things right. But what’s your view? Have you read A Morbid Taste For Bones? If you have, what elements do you see in it?

 
 
 

Coming Up On In The Spotlight

Monday, 17 July/Tuesday, 18 July – Talking to the Dead – Harry Bingham

Monday, 24 July/Tuesday 25 July – Bloody Waters – Carolina Garcia-Aguilera

Monday, 31 July/Tuesday, 1 August – Trial of Passion – William Deverell

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Filed under A Morbid Taste For Bones, Ellis Peters

I Thank the Lord I’m Welsh*

Wales is a beautiful country with a unique language, culture, and history. And, in the last few decades, there’s been a concerted effort to maintain that culture and teach that language. As you’ll know if you’ve lived there, or even been there, it’s a bilingual country (it’s been officially so since 1998).

But, if you read crime fiction, you’ll soon see that Wales isn’t exactly a peaceful, crime-free place. And it’s interesting to see how the country and its people are portrayed in the genre. Space doesn’t permit more than a quick peek at a few examples; I’m sure you’ll be able to add others.

One of Rhys Bowen’s series takes place mostly in the fictional Welsh town of Llanfair, in Snowdonia. These novels (there are ten) feature Constable Evan Evans, who was originally from Llanfair, but moved to Swansea as a child. When he gets fed up with life in the city, he decides to move ‘back home,’ where he’s now sometimes known as ‘Evans the Law,’ to distinguish him from others with the same surname. He re-acquaints himself with life in the small town in Evans Above, the first novel in the series. But it doesn’t turn out to be nearly as idyllic a life as he had imagined it would. This is a small-town series, but it’s not a ‘frothy,’ light series. Among other things, it shows how social changes such as immigration, culture clash, family structure changes, and so on don’t affect just the larger cities. They even find their way into small villages.

In The Earth Hums in B-Flat, Mari Strachan introduces readers to twelve-year-old Gwenni Morgan. She lives in a small Welsh village in the 1950s, and is just on the cusp of coming of age. Gwenni’s a creative thinker; some people call her a dreamer. She’s certainly not obsessed with clothes, boys, or an active social life. Everything in Gwenni’s life changes when one of the town’s residents, Ifan Evans, goes missing, and is later found dead. For various reasons, Gwenni wants to find out the truth about his death, so she starts to ask questions. As she searches out the truth, she also makes some life-changing discoveries about her own family. Strachan’s second novel, Blow on a Dead Man’s Embers, also takes place in a small Welsh town, just after World War I.

Babs Horton’s A Jarful of Angels has two timelines. One begins in 1962, in an isolated Welsh village, and is the story of four children: Lawrence ‘Fatty’ Bevan; Elizabeth ‘Iffy’ Meredith; Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Tranter; and William ‘Billy’ Edwards. These children don’t have much in common, but there aren’t a lot of other children in town. So, they spend their share of time together. During one eventful summer, they slowly begin to learn some of the town’s secrets, including some things that several people would much rather no-one find out. The other timeline begins some forty years later, when retired detective Will Sloane decides to return to his native Wales. He knows he doesn’t have a lot longer to live, and he wants to spend his last days in his own country. More than that, he finds a clue that’s related to mystery he was never able to solve. A child went missing, and was never found. Sloane was on the team that investigated, and everyone made efforts to find the child, but they had no success. Now, with this new clue, Sloane is hoping he can finally get some answers. As the children’s story moves forward, and Sloane’s backwards, we slowly learn how these children are connected to the secrets people are keeping. We also learn how all of that is related to Sloane’s investigation.

There’s also Cathy Ace’s WISE Enquiry Agency series. This series, in the traditional whodunit style, features four women (one Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, and one English) who set up an investigation agency. The stories mostly take place in the Welsh town of Anwen by Wye.

One of Elizabeth J. Duncan’s series features Penny Brannigan, who emigrated from Nova Scotia to the small Welsh town of Llanelen, where she lives now. She’s the owner of the Happy Hands Nail Care shop, and as such, gets to hear a lot of what’s going on in town. And, because it’s the sort of place where everyone knows everyone, she knows most of the town’s residents. This is a lighter, cosy, series, but it’s not ‘frothy.’

Just in case you were wondering whether all Welsh crime fiction takes place in small towns and villages, think again. Stephen Puleston, for instance, has two crime fiction series. One of them features Inspector Ian Drake, and takes place in North Wales. The other is set in Cardiff. This series features DI John Marco of the Queen Street Police. These novels are sometimes-gritty, fast-paced thrillers, rather than the more traditional-style whodunits.

And I couldn’t do a post about crime fiction set in Wales without mentioning Hinterland (AKA Y Gwyll). This noir television drama takes place in Aberystwyth, and stars Richard Harrington as DI Tom Matthias. One of the interesting things about this particular show is that it’s actually filmed twice: once in English, and once in Welsh. And even in the English version, there are occasional (subtitled) Welsh words and comments.

There are, of course, lots of other mentions of Wales and of Welsh characters in crime fiction. For instance, Ellis Peters’ most famous sleuth, Brother Cadfael, is Welsh. In fact, his Welsh identity plays a role in more than one of the novels in this series. And Cathy Ace’s other sleuth, Caitlin ‘Cait’ Morgan is also Welsh, although she now lives in Canada.

Wales may not be a large country. But it’s got a rich, long history, and a language and culture of which its people are proud. And it certainly features in crime fiction. Which crime novels set in Wales have you enjoyed?

ps. Thank you, wales.com, for the lovely ‘photo!

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Catatonia’s International Velvet.

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Filed under Babs Horton, Cathy Ace, Elizabeth J. Duncan, Ellis Peters, Mari Strachan, Rhys Bowen, Stephen Puleston