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Hemlock at Vespers (Sister Fidelma) Paperback – 2 Nov 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; New Ed edition (2 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747264325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747264323
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 3.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Tremayne is the fiction pseudonym of a well-known authority on the ancient Celts, who has utilised his knowledge of the Brehon law system and 7th-Century Irish society to create a new concept in detective fiction.

Product Description

Review

Fidelma's fans will welcome this first-ever collection, many stories of which are appearing here for the first time... A complex mesh of betrayals that also catch up the sleuth, exploiting both Fidelma's strengths and vulnerabilities (KIRKUS REVIEWS)

HEMLOCK AT VESPERS

'Peter Tremayne's collection of Celtic mysteries is an ideal introduction..to Sister Fidelma; a beguiling figure... A girl with definite ideas and distinct authority; a girl for our times as much as for her own' Historical Novels Review

'This collection is an essential canonical text for Sister Fidelma acolytes' Publisher's Weekly

'Fidelma's fans will welcome this first-ever collection, many stories of which are appearing here for the first time' Kirkus Reviews

'A treasure trove of small gems for historical mystery fans' Booklist

'A complex mesh of betrayals that also catch up the sleuth, exploiting both Fidelma's strengths and vulnerabilities' Kirkus Reviews

'Beguiling' Peterborough Evening Telegraph



Peter Tremayne's collection of Celtic mysteries is an ideal introduction to Sister Fidelma; a beguiling figure... A girl with definite ideas and distinct authority; a girl for our times as much as for her own (HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW)

ACT OF MERCY

'The background detail is brilliantly defined... Wonderfully evocative' The Times



This collection is an essential canonical text for Sister Fidelma acolytes (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

VALLEY OF THE SHADOW

'Tremayne's discriminating sense of history distinguishing ever-finer conflicts...creates an equally complex mystery for history-mad readers with eyes as sharp as Fidelma's' Kikus Reviews



A treasure trove of small gems for historical mystery fans (BOOKLIST)

Praise for previous novels:

'The Sister Fidelma books give the readers a rattling good yarn. But more than that, they bring vividly and viscerally to life the fascinating lost world of the Celtic Irish. I put down The Spider's Web with a sense of satisfaction at a good story well told, but also speculating on what modern life might have been like had that civilisation survived' Ronan Bennett

'sister Fidelma is fast becoming a world ambassador for ancient Irish culture' Irish Post

'A heroine whom many readers will willingly follow' Kirkus Reviews;

'A brilliant and beguiling heroine. Immensely appealing, difficult to put down' PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY;

'Definately an Ellis Peter competitor...the background detail is marvellous' EVENING STANDARD;

Book Description

HEMLOCK AT VESPERS is the first anthology of Celtic mysteries featuring Sister Fidelma

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you haven't read any of the series featuring Sister Fidelma then the short stories in this volume would be a good place to start. Fidelma is a nun but she is also trained as an advocate of the law courts in Ireland which used the Brehon laws and she is often asked to solve mysteries which don't always include a murder. This collection of well-crafted and interesting stories make entertaining reading and in the process you can pick up information about a less well known period of history.

I liked Sister Fidelma herself and enjoyed reading all these stories. Long before forensic science had started to make its mark, crimes were simpler to detect but also more complex because less information was available to the sleuth. Even Fidelma is prone to admit that some of her detection is guesswork, intuition and bluff.

Bodies are found in strange places - such as a tomb which had not been opened for over a thousand years. Church relics go missing - the blood of the Blessed St Gertrude as do more materially valuable items such as crosses and chalices. A hanged man apparently manages to stab himself at the same time as the hanging and arrows are broken off in wounds. Jealousy, envy and most of the seven deadly sins are found as motivations for the crimes. Sometimes justice and the law demand different outcomes.

These short stories all take about half to three quarters of an hour to read so they are ideal if you are commuting or want something short to read before sleep. If you enjoy historical crime novels and short stories then give Sister Fidelma a try.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lenny D on 3 Feb 2008
Format: Paperback
Though Sister Fidelma has appeared in four novels, she has also starred in fifteen short stories that make up this wonderful anthology, HEMLOCK AT VESPERS. Peter Tremayne places his stories in order of publication date and allows the audience to observe how much the author and the character have matured. Readers learn why Sister Fidelma changes her references to herself, dissociates from a religious community, and how that impacts the seventh century amateur sleuth.

All the stories in this anthology are well written and self-contained as the essence of the main character comes alive each time while retaining a consistent level of excellent storytelling. That enables the audience to understand and empathize with Sister Fidelma. The stories also provide incredible insight into "Dark Ages" Ireland without slowing down the pacing. Mr. Tremayne is one the leaders of the historical mystery whether the plot is full-length novel (see VALLEY OF THE SHADOW) or a short story.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "pennymwood2" on 3 Sep 2002
Format: Paperback
Sister Fidelma is the protagonist in this book of short stories. She is a nun and lawyer in Celtic Ireland during the seventh century. She is more than that however, she is a detective and solves crimes (usually murders) quickly and with great logic. These stories have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine to the Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives. Tremayne shows exceptional knowledge of the law system of the ancient Celts yet creates most readable fiction. There are several novels featuring Sister Fidelma.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GeorgeRobinson on 15 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have this on my kindle. It has been very good for short trip reading. The stories are most enjoyable and not totally predictable - as you would expect from sister Fidelma and Peter Tremayne.
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Having followed Sister Fidelma from her inception, it really is best to read the full-length stories in sequence, to get the sense of history, and see how the regular characters alter as they mature. The author's Introduction to this first short story collection is extremely helpful in explaining the time-line, and events in Sister Fidelma's life which have changed her direction. The stories show a very different world to that conventionally perceived as 'The Dark Ages', and today's feminists could learn a lot from 7th Century Ireland - as could our legal system.

Sister Fidelma has a very helpful background, being not merely a religieuse, but also the sister of a king, and a highly-qualified legal expert, too. It means she can knock the feet out from under a large number of people who think themselves superior to the rest of their world, and bring justice and compassion to many who are being unjustly accused of crimes, even while using her analytical brain and powers of observation to solve the mysteries.

There are times throughout this whole series when I have found Sister Fidelma to be a pain in the neck, self-confident, and so frequently riding rough-shod indifferently over those closest to her that it makes my teeth ache, but, on the whole, the quality of the plots keeps me reading, and there are times when I have nothing but admiration for her.

The only drawback to these short stories is that, by their nature, the basic details about Fidelma, her position in life, her background, physical description, and legal qualifications all have to be repeated (almost verbatim) in each story, for the benefit of new readers. I've learned to skip over those bits, but it does hurt less if you dip into the collection, rather than read the entire book at one sitting.
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