translate this page

HOME | THE SOCIETY | NEWS | ABOUT FIDELMA | THE GUIDE/FAQs | THE AUTHOR | THE BOOKS | THE STORIES

FOREIGN EDITIONS | THE FÉILES | THE CRITICS | PRONUNCIATION | GUESTBOOK | CONTACT US


 

fidbacknew1.jpgWHAT CRITICS SAY ABOUT THE SISTER FIDELMA MYSTERIES

The following opinions gathered by The International Sister Fidelma Society:

 

"FIDELMANIA - The Sister Fidelma Phenomenon"

Livres Hebdo, Paris

 

Sister Fidelma is listed No 9 in the Top 10 Literary Nuns

The Guardian, February 28, 2009

 

Winner of

Prix Historia du Roman Policier Historique 2010

(Historia Prize of an historical crime novel in 2010)

 

 

Once again, Tremayne (The Chalice of Blood, 2011, etc.) presents a detailed, readable depiction of life in ancient times with a clever mystery neatly woven into the plot. - Kirkus Reviews, USA, on Behold a Pale Horse

 

This is historical crime fiction at its best. The Belfast News Letter

 

The most authentically detailed medieval mystery series currently being published. - Booklist (Journal of the American Library Association)

 

Gerry McCarthy in The Sunday Times (2004) points out that crime fiction `has been undergoing a boom in Ireland’, and I think it is important to note that far from being merely a part of this boom, the Fidelma novels were one of the contributing factors that set it in motion – Dr John Scaggs, University of Limerick (Féile Fidelma program booklet, 2006)

 

What a magnificent read, this was truly the best historical mystery I have ever read. - Terry Haligan, Eurocrime on The Council of the Cursed

 

If you like a good mystery, cleverly plotted and beautifully written, and you have not yet discovered Fidelma, a treasure trove awaits... An example is the first chapter of Dancing with Demons in which the king's murder on the Hill of Tara combined brilliant imagery and savage detail like that found in a Jacobean tragedy.  - The Irish Independent

 

(Fidelma) … cannot be categorized as just genre fiction. It is literature. We can compare it to Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. – Luca Crovi, La Libertà, Italy

 

Fidelma’s ability to best opponents, whether in argument, strategy or audacity, makes her a heroine for any age. - Publishers Weekly, USA

 

Tremayne has created a great character in Fidelma and brilliantly conjures the world she inhabits... This is masterly storytelling from an author who breathes fascinating life into the world he is writing about. - Belfast Telegraph

 

We defy anyone picking up a Sister Fidelma Mystery not to be hooked on these superbly written historical thrillers. - RTÉ - Raidio Gaeltacha (Book program)

 

Lovers of historical crime mysteries know they are always in good company with Sister Fidelma.- Yorkshire Evening Herald

 

If there is anyone who has emerged from the crowded field of writers of medieval mysteries to take the place of the late Ellis Peters it is Peter Tremayne Denver Post, USA

 

Exquisitely crafted... Tremayne continues to provide a superior brand of medieval mystery... - Margaret Flanagan, Booklist (New York)

 

No one can make the seventh century come so alive as the pseudonymous Tremayne, Library Journal, USA

 

Tremayne’s books are a delightful respite from the mundane offerings that are available today. - Anniston Star, USA

 

The 7th Century husband-and-wife detective team of Sister Fidelma and Eadulf have proved a welcome and original addition to history fiction... finely crafted mysteries... breathing life into the dustiest corners of history and seasoning his plotswith a wealth of cleverly observed background detail. Fidelma and Eadulf (are) a splendidly entertaining double act. - Yorkshire Evening Post on The Council of the Cursed

 

I had not come across the Sister Fidelma mysteries before I had read this one and I could easily become a fan. What makes these stories is the fast moving plot alongside the authenticity of the historical background. Those who like detective and historical novels will love this combination. - Bill Spence, Yorkshire Gazette-Herald on The Council of the Cursed

 

One of Fidelma’s best, and the subject of clerical celibacy is particularly relevant today. - Kirkus Reviews, USA, on The Council of the Cursed

 

Readers who love Middle Ages whodunits will want to read A Prayer for the Damned (as well as previous Sister Fidelma titles) as this series is one of the best being written today. The freshness in Sister Fidelma’s latest inquiry is her doubts as to whether she should be released from her vows as a religieuse. The power struggle between Rome’s edicts and the Irish Church leaders are meticulously examined even as this serves as a key element to the exciting descriptive plot. Readers gain plenty of insight into 7th Century religious and secular politics in Ireland yet the beauty of Peter Tremayne’s skill is he does this while entertaining his fans. - Mid-West Book Review, USA, November, 2007

 

Perhaps the most successful of the island’s (Ireland) current mystery authors is Peter Tremayne, who writes the Sister Fidelma mysteries… The particular pleasure reviewers have praised in these tales is the vivid and accurate re-creation of medieval Irish culture. - World Literature Today, USA, January, 2007

 

Rich in historical detail... Tremayne has produced another winner. - Publishers Weekly, USA on A Prayer for the Damned

 

Faithful fans of Fidelma will enjoy another chance to immerse themselves in Tremayne's detailed depiction of medieval Ireland. - Kirkus Reviews USA on A Prayer for the Damned

 

The books have it all from action and suspense to a few moments of levity that will have readers searching for more of the author’s novels. I am sorry that I did not discover him sooner. - Angel L. Soto, Eurocrime

 

Detective books have covered many periods in history, none more successfully than (Peter) Tremayne with his much admired series set in 7th Century Ireland.Oxford Times, UK

 

Well written, fast moving and keeps the reader guessing through myriad twists and turns.South Wales Argus, UK, on A Prayer for the Damned

 

Tremayne’s formidable mysteries… provides a fascinating and detailed immersion into a highly sophisticated culture as worthy of contemplation today as it was when that culture was the brightest beacon in the European `Dark Ages.’ The Federal Lawyer – Journal of the US Federal Bar Association

 

Tremayne writes so authentically about this remote time period that readers will feel they are there in every way. His densely plotted stories are a delight. - (Star review of Master of Souls) Library Journal, USA

 

Fidelma’s world remains a richly imagined and thoroughly interesting place to spend time. - Yvonne Klein, Eurocrime

 

Tremayne never fails to deliver a fascinating and intriguing read… For all fans of medieval novels, especially mysteries, Tremayne’s latest in the Sister Fidelma series is a gratifying read. Though not necessary to enjoy any of the books, it is helpful timeframe-wise, to start the series at the beginning. Even so, any one of Tremayne’s (books) is a delightful respite from the mundane offerings that are available today. Tremayne is a `Master’ of Mystery. - Anniston Star, USA, on Master of Souls

 

Talented author Peter Tremayne guides us back to a time when stepping outside your door was dangerous, when death could strike for no reason. This is a skillfully woven tale made up of several subplots guaranteed to hold your interest. Lifelike characters lay false clues and scatter red herrings across the trails by omission and lies. You’ll be hard pressed to decide who to believe. A well-written tale I’m pleased to recommend to anyone who enjoys a really well researched historical story with intrigue and mystery. - New Mystery Reader

 

The reader is left with the smug satisfaction of having digested a fairly erudite volume. There is also the satisfaction of having enjoyed the book... because of Tremayne's story-telling abilities and his talent at evoking scenes and atmosphere... - Shots (on A Prayer for the Damned)

 

I have read most of the Fidelma Mysteries and Master of Souls is as fresh as the earlier books. I did not guess the ending so enjoyed right to the last page. Peter Tremayne breathes life into 7th CenturyIreland. - Historical Novels Review (on Master of Souls)

 

The 17th novel of historical detection featuring the marvelous Fidelma and Eadulf (the Dalziel and Pascoe of their day) is rich in atmosphere, clever in the telling and drips with authenticity... this is another terrific novel of ancient Ireland. - review in of A Prayer for the Damned in The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, UK

 

Tremayne's pitch-perfect 16th mystery to feature Fidelma of Cashel... transports the reader to an unfamiliar time and place with a sure scholarly touch. Publishers Weekly, USA, on Master of Souls

 

Fidelma gathers up all the loose strings of her investigation and brings the case to a stunning conclusion...  (Master of Souls - star review, a star is assigned to books of unusual merit, determined by the editors) Kirkus Reviews, USA

 

A PRAYER FOR THE DAMNED is a blessing for the millions of Sister Fidelma's devoted fans around the world. Tremayne's super-sleuth is a vibrant creation, a woman of wit and courage who would be outstanding in any era, but brings a special sparkle to the wild beauty of medieval Ireland. The author sets the scene with meticulous care and develops the plot with intelligence. He always plays fair with his readers, but surprises abound. Half the fun of the Fidelma series is trying to guess what this remarkable woman will do next. Well done! - Morgan Llywelyn, best-selling author of Lion of Ireland, Finn Mac Cool, The Last Prince of Ireland, Horse Goddess

 

What a concept! A seventh century Irish Nancy Drew in the guise of a young female cleric who is a trained dálaigh or legal advocate in ancient Irish law... Fidelma is an original and complex character; brilliant, analytical, emotionally withdrawn, touchy and testy, and conflicted over her relationship with the Irish-trained Saxon, Brother Eadulf. As with the other books in the series, this is a good read, well-paced and suspenseful, sprinkled with Old Irish terms and fascinating detail of early Irish life, food, habits, dress et cetera. I confess to being a fan of the intrepid Sister and this collection of fifteen short stories provides an excellent opportunity for any reader to discover if he or she, too, will succumb to Fidelmania. I'm not surprised there's talk of a television series. An Irish heroine for both the seventh and twenty-first centuries, here is a character more credible and captivating than Xena the Warrior Princess!' - G.V. Whelan (aka the novelist O.R. Melling) writing in Books Ireland

 

An engrossing plot with the right blend of problem-solving and action to keep you hooked. What I also enjoyed was how the period comes alive - Peter Tremayne obviously knows his stuff. - Belfast News Letter

 

Fidelma's popularity is owed entirely to Tremayne's story-telling talents. His characters are vividly drawn, his narrative has pace as well as authority. He may be an expert on the ancient Celts, the Brehon Law system and 7th Century Irish history, but he also tells stories that bristle with intrigue and human emotion. Escapist, yes, well-crafted whodunit, most certainly, but this is also fiction with the ring of real history about it. - Huddersfield Daily Examiner, UK

 

The Leper's Bell is a gripping tale, full of life, interesting diversions, above all a great story that leads us through a maze of possibilities, until, in the end, when we think we have got our man, it turns out to be someone else. Peter Tremayne has served us well yet again. The Tipperary Star

 

 Sister Fidelma is a hugely well-constructed figment of writer Peter Tremayne's imagination, she is rooted in the reality of 7th Century Ireland in which he sets her detective dramas. Since Tremayne launched the Sister Fidelma stories in the early Nineties, she has become a cult figure with even her own website. Much of that is doubtless owed to Tremayne's story-telling talents. His characters are vivid and credible, his narrative gripping and atmospheric. All of it is informed by his credentials as an authority on the ancient Celts, the Brehon law system and 7th Century Irish history. This new collection of 15 short stories offers intrigue and entertainment from a world that could so easily have influenced ours. Irish Echo

 

There is only one problem with the series - it's too long between each episode. Keep 'em coming, Tremayne. The Anniston Star, USA

 

Sister Fidelma is one of the most engaging detectives in modern fiction. - Professor Edward J. Rielly (chair of English Dept., St Joseph’s College, Maine)

 

Every now and again, you come across a book that is so uniquely different as it is accurate to its time period and Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma Celtic Mysteries series is just that.. The lovely thing about Tremayne's books is his attention to detail. Historically, he keeps it faithfully true without it becoming stale. - Irish World

 

One of the most suspenseful and intelligent series of historical mysteries... Tremayne continues to challenge readers with a compelling combination of church, cultural and legal history, buttressed by intriguingly complex plots and a superlative cast of sympathetic characters. - Booklist, New York

 

This is a cracking whodunnit that offers a generous ration of clues, twists and shocks before the final page. - Coventry Evening Telegraph, UK

 

The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction, compiled by Mike Ashley, Robinson, London, paperback at £9.99, and US edition from Carroll & Graf, New York. Contains a full page entry on Peter Tremayne and Sister Fidelma. Comments - this fascinating series is one of a kind…

 

Tremayne provides another authentically detailed installment in his exquisitely crafted Sister Fidelma series… decidedly literate and intelligent whodunit... - Booklist, USA, on Act of Mercy

 

Tremayne delivers a satisfying cozy with a fascinating historical twist - The Drood Review of Mystery - on Act of Mercy

 

The world should be most grateful to Peter Tremayne... The cultural splendor of an age of goldenenlightenment in Ireland, when Europe existed in the dark ages and when students flocked from all over Europe to be educated in Irish Monasteries is brought to life in the adventures of Sister Fidelma. - Ireland's Own

 

The detail of the books is fascinating, giving us a vivid picture of everyday life at this time... the most detailed and vivid recreations of ancient Ireland. Irish Examiner

 

Fidelma is straight out of the sleuth noir mould: dark, handsome, a qualified lawyer, an expert horsewoman... Tremayne effortlessly brings forth information on the nitty-gritty of daily life in Celtic Ireland... (he) has brought our colorful roots to life with (this) crime series... - Irish Times, Dublin

 

Fidelma would put Brother Cadfael to shame as she shows an uncanny talent for treading the right path amid a myriad of false trails, dead ends and pitfalls. - Irish News, Belfast

 

This nun will run and run. Sister Fidelma is no Xena, Warrior Princess - as a lawyer she uses her intelligence and cunning, rather than brute force to solve mysteries. Evening Herald, Dublin

 

The death of Ellis Peters may have put paid to any more Brother Cadfael mysteries. But fans of ecclesiastical whodunnits can take heart, for the monk detective has a worthy successor in the shape of Sister Fidelma... Our Lady of Darkness... is a riveting tale of murder, duplicity, greed ad slavery... Tremayne has created a great character in Fidelma and brilliantly conjures up the world she inhabits. I wonder what the chances are of her reaching the small screen like Cadfael? -Belfast Telegraph

 

Tremayne's - wonderful creation, 7th Century Celtic nun Sister Fidelma... he instantly plunges us into Fidelma's arcane but totally accessible world. - Publishers Weekly , USA

 

Our Lady of Death is one of the best - an excellent mystery with rich helpings of evil and tension. - Historical Novel Review

 

I like Fidelma. She is intelligent, assertive and full of vitality. As a fan of the Sister Fidelma series of books, I was delighted to learn more about her background from the short stories - Hemlock At Vespers - Murder Past Tense

 

Tense and gripping... compelling, enjoyable adventures. - Philadelphia Inquirer, USA

 

I like Fidelma. She is intelligent, assertive and full of vitality... I look forward to more Celtic mysteries! - Elizabeth M. Penn, Murder: Past Tense

 

I read Our Lady of Darkness which  gave me great enjoyment and interest. It is excellently done, with an admirable balance between intricacy of plot and persuasive characterization. I wish it every success, and am sure it will be enthusiastically received. Tremayne... has the remarkable capacity to recreate a society of great interest and complexity so that its basic assumptions become clear and are an effective operating context for the characters and the action. It is admirable how he puts the picture together with such a sure and light touch. Readers with no previous knowledge of the period will come away entertained; but also, hardly aware of the process, historically informed. I'm sure it should do a lot here and else where to make people understand what Ireland is, and is about; and will improve general comprehension of the problems faced this century by a new nation-state derived from an ancient and distinctive, repressed but never eliminated, civilization. - Professor H. David Rankin (author of Celts in the Classical World & etc.)

 

It is clear that Peter Tremayne is thoroughly at home with the period about which he writes. Starting with a fascinating historical note, the book is crammed with interesting snippets of information that give the characters credence. His style is racy, his dialogue sharp and with all the aplomb of a 7th Century Poirot, Fidelma amasses the facts to reveal the identity of the villain when all are gathered together... I really enjoyed this book, Act of Mercy, the 8th in a series featuring Sister Fidelma. You can almost taste the salt water, feel the airless crowded conditions aboard ship. The characters are well drawn, each one with a particular weakness - spite, jealousy, cowardice, that sets them apart from the rest - and all the time Fidelma has to fight with her own emotions, resurrected by the presence of the enigmatic Clan. - Janet Mary Tomson, Historical Novel Review

 

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 at what modern life might have been like had that civilization survived. - Ronan Bennett

 

I can well imagine myself becoming a devotee. The setting is refreshingly different and completely absorbing... a rich array of characters are very well described. Peter Tremayne... evokes perfectly the fascination of this distant age. - Maureen Carlyle, Shots

 

Hemlock at Vespers - this collection is an essential canonical text for Sister Fidelma acolytes. - Publishers Weekly, USA

 

In the simultaneously sharp-tongued and full, womanly figure of Sister Fidelma, Tremayne has created a heroine whom many readers will willingly follow - Kirkus Reviews , USA

 

A triumph! Tremayne uses many real characters and events as background, making it all the more convincing and fascinating. He succeeds remarkably in bringing the ancient world to life. - Mike Ashley, Mystery Scene

 

The background detail is brilliantly defined... Wonderfully evocative - The Times, London

 

The murders keep us on edge but really the gripping story here is the culture Fidelma represents Kliatt

 

A brilliant and beguiling heroine. Immensely appealing, difficult to put down. It is reassuring that Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf will reappear. The intellectual and physical sparks that are ignited between them light up the pages. - Publishers Weekly, USA

 

A treat for history buffs and historical mystery fans who appreciate strong and intelligent female protagonists Booklist, USA

 

The Sister Fidelma stories take us into a world that only an author steeped in Celtic history could recreate so vividly - and one which no other crime novelist has explored before. Make way for a unique lady detective going where no one has gone before. - Peter Haining, editor Great Irish Detective Stories

 

I believe I have a tendresse for Sister Fidelma. Ingeniously plotted... subtly paced... written with conviction, a feel for the times, and a chilly air of period authenticity. A series to cultivate. - Jack Adrian, editor Great Detective Stories from the Strand Magazine

 

Definitely an Ellis Peters competitor... the background detail is marvelous - Evening Standard, London

 

One of the most interesting sleuths to come on the scene in recent years - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, New York

 

A 4 Star Recommendation - Crime Times, UK

 

Tremayne's heroine is gutsy. She is funny. As she outwits the dull-witted and silences the foolish with a quick comment, the reader is inclined to murmur "Bravo!" The Spider's Web is the fifth book in the series. We can only hope there will be a dozen more. - Tampa Bay Tribune, USA

 

Move over Miss Marple, a new sleuth is on the case - Hampstead & Highgate Express, UK

 

Sister Fidelma once again works her magic upon readers... Tremayne, as always, makes 7th Century Ireland seemed accessible and absolutely fascinating. But it is Fidelma's wit and force of character which really drives this series... and the characters with which Tremayne peoples the abbeys and environs are varied and interesting. A complex plot and good characterization makes this a winner especially for historical mystery fans who prefer intellectual style in their mysteries - Clare E. White in Writers Write, USA

 

Fast moving - unputdownable! - Irish Democrat

 

A spunky 7th Century heroine... a picture of a world in transition... richly detailed - Walnut Creek Times, USA

 

Fascinating! If you enjoy a good mystery and like reading about history, you'll like Shroud for the Archbishop. And I know you'll like the Irish detective, Sister Fidelma. - Irish American News

 

A Brother Cadfael on the distaff side! - Oxford Times, UK

 

An invigorating and stimulating jaunt into the world of soluble murder and apparently insoluble church history. Peter Tremayne creates a seventh century nun who solves murder mysteries in settings of ecclesiastic grandeur, power bunting and intrigue... Entertaining, well paced, interest-sustaining and vivid - Father Des Wilson, Andersontown News, Belfast

 

I can easily see the characters being developed for a television series - South Wales Evening Post, UK

 

Tremayne uses his knowledge well... the books are superbly researched - The Crimson Circle, UK

 

Absorbing... warmly recommended... a good read with evocative atmosphere. - Cross-ties

 

Quite a girl, our Sister Fidelma. The plots are as clever as Fidelma but the real attraction is Tremayne's feel for the period; a chill, unforgiving time. - Manchester Evening News, UK

 

A credible set of events set against an authentic Celtic background... intriguing and compelling whodunnit which gathers pace to an Agatha Christie-style denouement - Coventry Evening Telegraph, UK

 

Tremayne spins a rollicking pacey yarn. - Nuneaton Evening Telegraph, UK

 

On Chalice of Blood - This exciting murder mystery had me eagerly turning the pages with its intriguing heroine and fascinating setting. The author is an expert in early Irish history so fives an authentic flabour to a well written novel full of suspense... I can understand why she has such a large following. I will look forward to reading more.   - Yorkshire Gazette-Herald

 

Sister Fidelma is fast becoming a world ambassador for ancient Irish culture - Irish Post

 

An outstanding series. - I Love A Mystery

 

The literary successor to Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael - Southern Star, Cork, Ireland

 

A series which shows no sign of growing tired... two well-delineated leading characters - Murder: Past Tense (Historical Mystery Appreciation Society)

 

Strong historical whodunnits, as sharp as a sword and as colorful as any medieval manuscript - Northern Echo, Darlington,UK

 

[Sister Fidelma] does not disappoint... untangling a complex web of intrigue that moves fromone surprising revelation to the next - Publishers Weekly, USA

 

Firmly set in a wild, dangerous time... this historical teaches as it entertains - Library Journal, USA, on Valley of the Shadow

 

Tremayne's discriminating sense of history creates a complex mystery for history-mad readers. - Kirkus Reviews, USA, on Valley of the Shadow

 

Rich with Irish lore. The Spider's Web introduces readers to Celtic law, religious and mores in a multi-layered search for a cold-blooded killer. - Publishers Weekly, USA

 

Fidelma displays her usual knack for uncovering timeless, all too human motives as she solves crimes under the ancient Brehon law system in Ireland. A treasure trove for historical mystery fans. - Booklist, USA, on Hemlock at Vespers

 

For those who haven't read Peter Tremayne's previous Sister Fidelma Mysteries, be warned, they are compulsive... Read this and be certain of Tremayne's sure-footedness among the intricacies of political and religious life in this ancient Celtic land but also of his certain grasp of atmosphere, of character and place. - Huddersfield Daily Examiner, UK

 

Tremayne has a great world following... once again Fidelma's quest for justice across a treacherous Celtic landscape has a divine authenticity. – The Oxford Times, UK

 

The plot thickens as the story continues, keeping you guessing throughout with the true solution only revealed at the very last. A crime reader's delight. - Manx Independent, IoM

 

Under his real name, the author is one of the foremost Celtic scholars in the world. His vast knowledge and love of his subject shows in this well-plotted and well-written story. He vividly portrays the day-to-day difficulties of a physically demanding and sometimes harsh life, yet one in which education and knowledge are highly valued. - Mystery Scene (No 93)

 

A powerful complex whodunits, The Council of the Cursed is a terrific Dark Age mystery. Fidelma is at her best... The story line is fast-paced as Peter Tremayne moves his champion from Ancient Ireland to France in a fabulous entry. - The Mystery Gazette

 

Tremayne, a master of the medieval mystery - Booklist, USA

 

There is now an ever-growing mass of ardent admirers of Sister Fidelma in this country and worldwide… the series has become hugely popular across the globe and the original hardbacks are becoming increasingly collectable and sought after. - Richard Dalby, Book & Magazine Collector, UK

 

Drawing on his vast knowledge of ancient Ireland (after The Council of the Cursed) Tremayne continues his fascinating exploration of medieval religious communities caught between the Rule of Benedict that preached strict sexual abstinence and the Irish tradition of mixed monasteries where marriage was allowed... Essential for series fans and readers who enjoy mysteries with medieval and Irish settings. -  Library Journal, USA (on The Dove of Death)


CLICK HERE TO VISIT BRUDEN FIDELMA

OFFICIAL HOME OF THE SOCIETY WHEN IN CASHEL!

 

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL SISTER FIDELMA SOCIETY