Number seven in this series, this novel plots the happenings of the Burren about nine months after the conclusion of the last book. Mara, the Brehon of three kingdoms, is finding that it can be very stressful balancing her multiple roles: mother to a 1-year old, chief judge for the king's territory, and investigator of all serious crimes. When a usually simple bidding for a flax business becomes confusing and deadly, Mara enlists her law school students in investigating the crime. When it turns out that two of her students have mysterious ties to the murder, she has to muster all of her powers of logic and intuition to find the criminals. Unfortunately her most trusted senior scholar suddenly disappears, and the new addition to the school , the beautiful and brilliant Fiona, turns out to an enigmatic romantic relationship to the first victim. The plot, as usual, is finely tuned and exciting, and the cast of characters continue to delight, and Mara's students and ward evolve and mature in realistic and believable ways. As the readers watch an apparently local murder morph into a plot with serious implications for the kingdom's relationship to England (and the king's health), they also learn much about Irish law and culture during the reign of Henry the Eighth, whose attitudes towards women, property, tortue and imprisonment are quite incompatible with traditional Irish law.
This is an excellent read. I know it kept me up way beyond my usual bedtime.