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[Review] Death On Lindisfarne: The Aidan Mysteries by Fay Sampson


Title: Death On Lindisfarne: The Aidan Mysteries #2
Author: Fay Sampson
Publisher: Kregel Publications/Lion Fiction
Genre: Fiction
Theme: Murder in a Celtic historical setting.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 256
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Source: Free copy from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review.

Kregel Blog Tour: September 9th-13th.


Summary:
Death On Lindisfarne takes place less than a year after book one The Hunted Hare. In The Hunted Hare beloved wife of Aidan, and mother to Melangell, died of cancer. In Death On Lindisfarne Aidan and Melangell travel to Lindisfarne-Holy Island, in Northumberland (northeast England). Aidan and Melangell walk the Pilgrim's Way across the wet sand, timing their walk with the receding ocean water. The trip to Lindisfarne is an adventure and yet a respite for them. The murder at Lindisfarne places further stress in their lives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pilgrim%27s_Way,_Lindisfarne.JPG
After arriving they meet several guests. Lucy is a young woman that has recently become a Methodist minister. She has a keen interest in the Celtic history of saints. She's traveled to Lindisfarne with a troubled teenage girl named Rachel and a college student named Peter. Lucy is the Celtic history teacher for a mismatched group of adults. In this group their is a dogmatic moody evangelistic pastor and his passive assistant, an older married couple, an Oxford professor and her partner a bookshop manager. Aidan and Melangell join them in learning about the rich history and heritage of Lindisfarne.
About midway through the book a murder takes place and the story pivots to finding the murderer.

My Thoughts:
I'd read the first book late last year and loved it. I felt then, and feel now, that the young character Melangell steals the character emphasis in The Aidan Mysteries. From her "freckled elfin shaped face to her gray blue eyes," her depth of maturity, observant nature, and her ability to communicate well with adults. All these are standout traits in a swarm of ungrounded adults. All the adult characters are hiding something from either their past or their current circumstance. Melangell is just as she is without hiding how she feels or trying to not be true to herself. She is a breath of fresh air amongst a group of stagnant people.
Aidan, though the books title is his name, is a reluctant, numb, anti-hero. I suggest someone buy him a helmet if there is going to be a book #3.
Lucy has a liberal ideology. She has insecurities that stand out like a mark on her forehead. She is judgmental yet gives the appearance she is not. I believe it would be difficult for her to not have preconceived ideas of people given her background.
James is the recalcitrant, dogmatic, pious, evangelical pastor. He is not a likable person; however, I know enough about people to understand him as being a person that wears a mask. Behind that mask lay insecurities.
James has an assistant named Sue that follows him picking up the shredded pieces of those he has cut with his sharp tongue.
The Cavendish's are an older couple that appear to be docile.
Two women who are partners: Elspeth and Valerie. It is not outright explained, only alluded to, these women are lesbian partners. Elspeth is not an easy person to be around, she sorta reminds me of James in that she is judgmental, aggressive and harsh. Valerie is a constant steady companion, who like Sue, tries to make peace with those Elspeth has shredded.

I saw in the characters stereo-types, for example: the judgmental evangelism pastor versus the liberal thinking Lucy. Although, I saw that Lucy had made judgments about people as well.
Opposite character or personal traits are given, for example: conservative versus liberal, unselfish love versus dysfunctional, honesty versus pretense.

The murder mystery is mild. It's always fun for me to try and figure out "who did it?" I'd guessed before the revealing. 

I felt the strengths of this story is in the setting and rich Celtic history, and in the character of Melangell.

I believe both the author and publisher are "feeling-out" their reading audience. This is the first gay/lesbian couple I've encountered in a Christian fiction novel. There will be some readers who will cheer; others who will sneer. Either way both author and publisher were quiet about this introduction, which will be appreciated on both sides.

My review of The Hunted Hare #1 The Aidan Mysteries:
http://awell-wateredgarden.blogspot.com/2012/11/review-hunted-hare-first-volume-in.html

The Hunted Hare #1 The Aidan Mysteries:
http://www.amazon.com/Hunted-Hare-Aidan-Mysteries/dp/0857212044/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378989461&sr=1-2
Paperback $13.32
Kindle $9.99

Death on Lindisfarne #2 The Aidan Mysteries:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Lindisfarne-The-Aidan-Mysteries/dp/1782640258/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1
Paperback $11.05
Kindle $10.50

http://www.christianbook.com/death-on-lindisfarne-aidan-mysteries/fay-sampson/9781782640257/pd/640257?product_redirect=1&Ntt=640257&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP
Paperback $11.99
eBook $9.69





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