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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 6 October 2016
When Elizabeth dies she leaves a puzzle to be solved and the person she has chosen to do this is Father Anslem who before he became a monk was once a practising barrister. Elizabeth has been obsessed with the case of a man who she had successfully defended who she later discovered was guilty and she wants to fix this. She has hidden her clues and it is Anslem's role to follow the trail.

This is well written and the author is excellent at creating atmosphere and a sense of place. He present moral issues and explores them in his plot. The book is not filled with action but the characters and what does happen seems very realistic.

The problem with the book is the plot. Firstly, it seems very unlikely that a successful barrister would have the attack of conscience that Elizabeth has here. It is not, and never has been, the job of the advocate to make any form of judgement about the guilt of an individual. It is their role to present the case for the defence and t test the case for the prosecution - if the case isn't good enough then the person who has been charged is decreed not guilty. It appears that Anselm is also complicit in that he asked a question in court that caused the prosecution's case to fail - I accept that he feels unhappy about the grief that this caused but it was his job and he appears to have done it well. This all seems very unlikely.

Equally unlikely is the whole puzzle and the hidden clues. Why on earth didn't Elizabeth just tell Anselm what he needed to know rather than engineer such a performance ? Entrusting an important piece of the puzzle to a man with no short term memory wasn't exactly a work of genius either.

The plot was unbelievable, the motivations unlikely but the writing and plotting, after you have accepted the preposterous, clever.
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on 27 November 2013
Not one of Father Anselm's best. The plot - and style of writing - is too convoluted and tortuous and ends up being unbelievable, too far-fetched, relying too much on coincidence and an incestuous pattern of every character and every one of their actions being minutely inter-related.
Fortunately Brodrick writes very well or the book would have quickly become tedious and too heavy going for simple pleasure reading. While it is thoroughly enjoyable to have a writer who takes his time and is not an adherent to the crash, bang, wallop school of novelists, this book could become just a little too labyrinthine and slow. Never mind, you can forgive Father Anselm most things so even his less good cases make better reading than most detective fiction.
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on 24 June 2007
Not unexpectedly, a female QC dies due to a heart condition. She was on a mission to correct a wrong in her life having earlier successfully defended a guilty person. Despite her death, she did leave clues to those close to her to reveal the full story of the events years ago. One of those is Father Anselm, a barrister and monk, who appeared in `The Sixth Lamentation', Brodrick's debut novel.

The barrister-monk combination perhaps lifted my expectations too high but, to my mind, Father Anselm plays a very minor role in unravelling the mystery. There is no clever `lawyering' or similar either. The story is not elaborate, as the cover claims, and I found it to be full of strange characters and situations. I really struggled to move through the novel and it wasn't until after 250 pages or so that things started to happen. I clearly didn't find the writing style to be very engaging.

Others have commented that `The Sixth Lamentation' was better and I think I'll reserve further comments on Brodrick's writing skills until I've read it. This one though didn't do a great deal to excite me. 7/10
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on 28 January 2017
Well written, but quite difficult to follow the convoluted plot, need to pay attention!
Lovely discriptions of the monetary and monastic life, well contrasted with the inner cityscape.
Interesting characters brilliantly drawn.
A good fairly challenging read.
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on 24 March 2016
can't put it down.. still reading
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on 21 January 2015
This takes a bit more following than the first two books I read, but is a wonderful read.
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on 2 October 2013
Having read one of the Farther Anselm novels by chance on my last long haul flight just had to buy some more.
Love the style of the writing and the subject matter. Realy good service, thanks.
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on 31 March 2013
I'm a big fan of William Brodrick's and this I think is as good as his other work, it deserves the 5 stars.
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on 2 July 2013
So well thought through. It carries you away into a world which makes you forget the time and I always looked forward to when I could continue reading it. Most enjoyable.
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on 5 May 2015
All these books were great-I am waiting for the next
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