Badger’s Moon is the fourteenth installment in Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma series, set in 7th-century Ireland. Fidelma, an advocate of the law courts and sister of Colgu, one of the five kings of Ireland, is living at her brother’s court in Cashel with her companion, the Saxon monk Brother Eadulf, and their infant son. (In Fidelma’s time, monks and nuns were not required to be celibate, as Tremayne explains.) Her cousin Becc, chieftain of the clan of the Cinel na Aeda, arrives at Cashel to summon Fidelma to investigate a series of murders in his territory. Three young girls have been brutally murdered, each on the night of the full moon, with the last murder taking place at the Badger’s Moon (October’s full moon). Three foreigners who have been staying at the Abbey of Finnbarr in Becc’s territory have been accused of the murders. But, after questioning the local people, Fidelma realizes that they have been quick to leap to conclusions because of their prejudice. Will she find the real killer before the next night of the full moon arrives?
I had only read one of the earlier Sister Fidelma mysteries before this one, but Badger’s Moon certainly makes me want to read the rest of the series. Tremayne makes 7th century Ireland come alive for the reader and provides an excellent introduction, which explains the historical background of the Fidelma series and a guide to the pronunciation of Irish names.