Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Cadfael Chronicles

Have I mentioned how much I love CAFDA? Very, very much. It's kind of like the land of free books. Now I could try the whole extended metaphor thing with Sea Point being the enchanted wood, but (a) I don't remember the the Faraway Tree books well enough for that (I see rereading in my future) and (b) I've never been very good at the whole extended metaphor thing. I'm much more of a metaphor mixer than a metaphor extender.
Anyway, the point is that CAFDA has lots of good books, in varying condition I admit, for virtually no money. Also, they're some sort of charity, so the money presumably helps people in need. Or whatever their charity does (as you might imagine I'm more interested in the books than the charitableness, but that's always good too. There's nothing quite like benefitting others while you behave in a purely selfish manner).

At CAFDA, I recently discovered the Cadfael Chronicles, by Ellis Peters (pseudonym of Edith Pargeter). I have read (1) A Morbid Taste for Bones, (2) The Devil's Novice, (3) Dead Man's Ransom and (4) The Potter's Field. They're historically accurate detective novels set in the twelfth century with Brother Cadfael, a Benedictine monk who took his vows at the age of forty, as the central character. The only detail I find difficult to credit is the number of murders that took place in a relatively small area in a relatively short space of time. But this is a requirement of any detective series, so I suspend my disbelief as best I can. There are no forensics, no autopsies, no fingerprints and little in the way of physical evidence in general in these books, and yet they still manage to come across as real and plausible investigations. Somewhat similar to Christie's Poirot in the reliance on what people do and do not say. Unlike the In Death (JD Robb) and Plum (Janet Evanovich) detective series, there is no real action and absolutely no sex. And yet, the series does not suffer for it and, in fact, is far less fluffy than either of those series. Also, there's the advantage of learning about British history of this period quite accidentally.
Highly recommended!

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