As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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'Apothecary Melchior and the Mystery of St Olaf's Church by Indrek Hargla
Translated by Adam Cullen
Published by Peter Owen, 26 November 2015. ISBN: 978-0-7602-1844-0
We are in 15th century Tallinn.The apothecary, Melchior Wakenstede, becomes
involved in trying to discover who murdered the Teutonic knight, Henning von
Clingenstain, as he returned to the town from the Toompea Castle, late at night
while comprehensively drunk.The town
and castle are separate entities linked together and part of any investigation
must be to decide whether the murderer was from the town or the castle.Maps are provided at the end of the book.
details of 15th century life are very convincing - in particular the mindsets
of the inhabitants are displayed by their actions and attitudes.Melchior, possibly because of his
profession, is a keen observer of the scene around him and he soon appreciates
that this is a very puzzling death.Other characters play their parts - the would-be Meistersinger, the
goldsmith, the monks, the pastor, the merchants and their womenfolk - while the
geography of the place dictates much that happens.The guild of foreign merchants is called the
Blackheads which reads strangely to an English speaker!St Olaf's Church is another brooding
presence with its famous spire - the tallest in the world at that time.This town is a member of the Hanseatic League
so it is not a parochial place but is full of a variety of people.The origins of the real Tallinn are being
shown to us.
further frightening deaths in this bustling entrepôt, Melchior begins to work
out what has happened.He is a
Poirotesque figure who gathers a group together to expound his theory of events
at the end, with the aim of revealing the murderer.This is a cleverly crafted tale with a fully
developed background.The story is
densely packed, literally so.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
are 6 books in the series but this is the first of two to be translated into
Indrek Hargla was
born in 1970. One of the bestselling Estonian authors working today, his
Apothecary Melchior novels now run to six widely translated volumes, and film
versions are currently in production. 'Apothecary Melchior and the Mystery of
St Olaf's Church' is the first of two volumes in the series to be published in
English by Peter Owen.
Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime
fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an
expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands
& the USA
but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting
reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics
including Famous Historical Mysteries.