Aidan and eight-year-old Melangell are still reeling from the loss of their wife and mother, Jenny. It is hard not to go into the past as everywhere they go reminds them of her. Lindisfarne is particularly special as it was one of the places she wrote a book about with photos taken by Aidan. Now years later, Aidan wants to show their daughter the places behind the books Jenny wrote, and give Melangell a little bit more time to say goodbye to the precious mother that raised her and loved them both with all her heart. Lindisfarne is the first place they stop and visit for a week - and accidental amateur sleuth Aidan finds himself in a very real 21st century drama.
They meet up with Jenny's friend Lucy who is teaching a course on Northumbrian saints. She has with her a young woman that is troubled and in need of the peace and quiet the remote island offers. But when Rachel ends up dead, the eyes of the law turn to everyone presently on the island. Rachel's friends trickle in, and Aidan and Lucy learn more about Rachel's past. A piece of Lucy's past is revealed as well, and suddenly things just aren't so simple anymore. Will Aidan be able uncover who killed Rachel? And with all the intrigue and suspicion surrounding the murder, will Melangell be safe as he investigates?
So I've got to admit that the setting for this novel is very different than I'm used to. While I love historical fiction of any kind, I have zero knowledge of the Celtic history. This book put a quick end to that. Sampson combines the interest of a mystery along with what can be considered dull facts of saints dead for centuries (for those of us who aren't passionate about this time period.) and created a story that stayed long with me after I was done. The way she describes the places, and the word pictures of the thoughts she was trying to convey were just excellent. I felt like I could taste the salt water at the crossing and feel the sand underneath my toes. It was the next best thing to being there and seeing it for myself.
This book was provided by Kregel Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
Fay Sampson in her new book, "Death On Lindisfarne" Book Two in The Aidan Mysteries series published by Monarch Books brings us another mystery with Aidan and his eight-year-old daughter Melangell.
From the back cover: Twice each day the holy island of Lindisfarne is cut off from the mainland by the incoming tide.
Slight and ginger-bearded, Aidan the photographer and accidental sleuth brings his inquisitive eight-year-old daughter to the retreat center on Lindisfarne. There they meet Lucy, a young Methodist minister, with a painful past, who is running a course on Northumbrian saints.
When one of the course members is found dead on the beach, suspicion falls on one guest, then another. Or could the tides have allowed a murderer to come from the mainland?
Then someone from Lucy's previous life makes a most unwelcome appearance.
And so Aidan is drawn into his second mystery. Masterfully told by award-winning author Fay Sampson, Death on Lindisfarne explores the complicated motivations of fallen people against the backdrop of ancient holiness.
Lindisfarne is what they call a tidal island and is situated off the north-east coast of England. It is connected to the mainland of Northumberland by a causeway and is cut off twice a day by tides. I am surprised that Agatha Christie didn't use this location in one of her books as it is just the spot that she liked to use No problems though as Ms. Sampson is using it and what a location it turns out to be. Aidan is up against quite a mystery here even more difficult than the previous story. I think Ms. Sampson is an extremely talented writer who really knows how to tell a story that will grab you and keep you flipping pages until you find out who did it. After reading this book I want to go and visit Lindisfarne that is how real Ms. Sampson wrote. The murder mystery is top-notch and will keep you guessing and flipping pages as fast as you can read them. "Death On Lindisfarne" is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed, not only in the mystery, but in the lives of these characters as well. This is a wonderful series and I am so looking forward to the next book in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Monarch Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Death on Lindisfarne by Fay Sampson is a good book but it took me while to get into the British style of writing. There was very little humor in the story but I did get a good laugh at the author calling the clerical collar a dog collar. Aidan has been a widower for six months when he decides to take his eight year old daughter, Melangell, to Lindisfarne to show her all the places that her mother loved and wrote about in her books. They were there for a week long retreat and were joined by eight other people in addition to Lucy, a Methodist minister, who was leading the retreat. Lucy is trying to help Rachel, a young girl who is working to overcome her drug addiction, and not too far into the story, Rachel's body is found on the beach. At this point the suspense of the story begins to happen. Did Rachel commit suicide or was she murdered and if murdered who is the guilty person? There are also several less important questions that add to the suspense of the story. Aidan lets the group assume that he and his wife, Jenny are separated. Lucy has things in her past that she does not want to reveal such as why she left the police department four years ago. James, a minister, staggers into the house dripping blood from a cut on the head and cannot tell the group how he was injured. Sue is at the retreat with James as his assistant and she seems to worship the ground he walks on but he treats her with complete disdain. David and Frances are a very different couple and seem to constantly find something to complain about. Elspeth is a professor at Oxford and a most disagreeable woman. Valerie, her companion, is the complete opposite and is always doing her best to keep Elspeth from antagonizing the rest of the group.
The author did an excellent job in making all the characters come to life. Some were loveable and some were completely unlikeable. Scene descriptions were very well done and in my mind I could picture myself in the action right along with the characters in the story. There were several twist and turns to the plot and several mysteries to be solved. The author had me guessing until almost the end of the book exactly who had murdered Rachel and why. From the very first I wanted to know how to pronounce the name of the spunky little eight year old Melangell. She was my favorite character for she was about the only one who had no secrets to hide and was completely honest in everything she said. In fact, most of the time she appeared to be more mature than the adults. I have to be honest and say that I really did not care all that much for the history of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the Northumbrian saints that were included in the book. I would have enjoyed the book much more if it had just been about the group at the retreat.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a book with a lot of suspense and who also likes British history.
Kregel Publications provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Death on Lindisfarne is a contemporary mystery that follows the journey of Aidan Davison and his daughter, Melangell. They are visiting some of the favorite spots of saints and/or holy places of Aidan's deceased wife. She wrote many books on Celtic saints and Aidan was the photographer for her books. For this trip, the two are part of a small group that has signed up for a tour guided by a Methodist minister, Lucy. The other characters signed up for the tour are a supporting cast and also become a field of suspects after someone is found dead. At first, the death is thought to be a suicide, but soon that theory is rescinded and evidence of murder is discovered.
Also, part of Lucy's past returns to haunt her. She is a former police constable who had a very manipulating and possessive partner whom she left suddenly four years ago. She came to the island of Lindisfarne to escape him. She eventually felt safe enough that she left the island to enter the ministry. She now returns to Lindisfarne when she needs to regroup. She enjoys the peace of the place. This trip she has brought a troubled teen girl who Lucy has been trying to help stay off of drugs and get her life in order. Lucy is attacked at one point of the story during the night. Is it the same person who has committed murder in their small group? Why is Lucy now a target?
Throughout the story, Aidan and Lucy come to realize their attraction for each other. Aidan, however, is still grieving for his wife and needs more time before embarking on any kind of relationship. Aidan does feel protective toward Lucy and comes to her rescue. Lucy has more suspects for the murder than she can count. Now, she is looking at some people in her little group with a different eye. Who has the potential to be a murderer? Is Lucy the next victim?
I read the first book in this series and found it to be average. I thought this book was a bit better and enjoyed the character of Melangell. She is a smart little girl, who loves her daddy very much. She keeps her head in stressful situations and is just a darling! I also liked the potential love interest for Aidan and hope to see that developed in further books. The plot seemed to flow more smoothly in this book, and the short chapters helped keep the story moving right along. I hope to see Aidan and Melangell have their characters fleshed out even more in the next novel. There is also the history of some saints and the area of Lindisfarne to learn about, which I found very interesting.
We met Aidan and Melangell in the first of The Aidan Mysteries, The Hunted Hare. Now Aidan has taken eight year old Melangell to a week stay on the British island of Lindisfarne for a course on the history of Northumbrian spirituality. It was one of the places that had inspired Jenny, Aidan's wife and Melangell's mother, to write her books. Aidan thought the time there might help in grieving the recent loss of Jenny.
Things go terribly wrong when one of the people at the retreat center is found dead. She was a troubled teen who had come with the retreat leader and Methodist ministry, Lucy. Lucy had hoped the peace of the island would help the teen in her struggles. It is determined to be murder and everyone on the island is under suspicion. Aidan is faced with his second murder mystery.
This is a mystery for lovers of British history and Celtic spirituality. As Lucy lectures to those on the retreat, we learn much about the saints whose lives impacted the area including Aidan's namesake.
This is not a mystery with lots of action. It is in the style of British mysteries, dealing much more with the character of the individuals and their motivations than with action and suspense. Those who like Agatha Christie novels would like this one.
I did find telling the story from different characters' points of view a bit distracting. For example, we are privy to the thinking of Aidan and Lucy. I know that is the modern way to write but I do prefer a single point of view. Then I am on the same playing field as the major character.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.