Sunday, January 08, 2017

Matthew Carr's The Devils of Cardona

Matthew Carr's The Devils of Cardona is a murder mystery set in 1584 Spain. A priest has been murdered, then others are killed, and the question is whether moriscos, or Muslims forced to convert to Catholicism, are responsible. The Inquisition and its ideals are thus a key part of the story. It is a complicated--at times almost overly complicated--plot.

It's a good story, though not a great one. The narrative of the lies behind what everyone does is compelling--the priests, the Inquisitors, the investigators, the seemingly pious women, the forced converts, everyone hides behind facades. And the irrational fear of Muslims is clearly intended to speak to the post-9/11 era as well.

The protagonist, the judge Bernardo de Mendoza, is a well-rounded character, with enough contradictions to keep him interesting. The story has a few too many TV-ish rescues, but it's worth it. If Carr writes another Mendoza book, I'd buy it.


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