Jun 05, 11
Read in June, 2011
Second in the series about Matthew Shardlake, the hunchbacked lawyer/sleuth in sixteenth century England. I liked this book, set in London in 1540, better than the initial one (which was still good); it seemed like the London setting provided more scope and diversity than the monastery setting of the first book. There are similarities; Shardlake again has an agile, clever young associate; in this case, happily, the young man is better natured and more helpful than in book one. Shardlake again is drawn to an attractive woman, but worries that his deformity will prevent her from accepting him. Shardlake's appeal as a character lies in the fact that, while he is a good detective, he's a human being and his concern about his physical problem affects his judgment and often causes him to act against his nature and his own best interests.
The books are rich in historical detail, and the plot contrivances, although sometimes a bit labored, aren't so unbelievable that they detract from the story and the setting.