Tuesday 14 August 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of The Inquisitor by David Penny

Thomas Berrington Series #5

Fictional Saga / mystery
Seville, Spain

This is the second novel about Thomas Berrington, physician by profession and a sleuth by virtue of a rabid curiosity. The setting is Spain in the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella. Thomas arrives in Seville to treat the queen who is pregnant and bleeding. Within the first hours, he meets old friends and enemies and some who could be either one. He is also caught up in the mystery surrounding a terrifying figure called The Ghost, who kills his victims by opening their chests and taking out their hearts. Thomas’s fiancĂ© arrives with some other interesting characters, I presume from the first book. Oh, and plague is on the rise in the city. There is more than enough to keep Thomas occupied and the reader interested.

Aside from these elements, the new characters flesh out the story with a love affair and a kidnapping. This is not a standard who-done-it. Why The Ghost has committed such bizarre murders and when he will be caught provide the suspense. I particularly enjoyed the banter between Thomas and his friend Jorge, who is, apparently, an incorrigible and gifted lover of women.

The plot was simple and easy to follow and the sub-plots were interesting, however, I had some, perhaps nit-pick, issues: first, the title. None of the characters was an Inquisitor, nor was the Inquisition involved except peripherally, or perhaps I missed something? There was some unnecessary dialogue that neither advanced the story nor said anything about the character: without it the book would have been shorter and I think a bit snappier. Was the  ‘twist’ at the end entirely credible? I'm not sure, but then, this is fiction.

That said, a most entertaining read, and something a little different to the usual mystery tales.

© Susan Appleyard

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