Sansom, C.J. Dissolution. I put this one on my TBR list sometime back, then Jill posted about it and renewed my interest; when the R.I.P. and Unread Author Challenges came up, I finally ordered the book. Given Jill's recommendation, the subject matter (dissolution of monasteries), time period (Tudor era), and genre (mystery), I was pretty sure that I would like this one...and I did.
Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer, a royal commissioner under Thomas Cromwell, and a hunchback. When Cromwell orders him to solve the murder of another royal commissioner at the Scarnsea monastery, Matthew has no choice. He and Mark Poer find a complicated set of individuals and behaviors at the monastery and evidence of quite a few misdeeds and secrets. Then...another murder.
Gothic elements: monks, monastery, mystery, secret passages, etc. Historic tidbits include information about the Reformation and various viewpoints, the dissolution of the monasteries, the power-hungry and greedy attitude that accompanied many "reformers," a bit out about Ann Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Mark Smeaton.
Matthew Shardlake is a genuine believer in the Reformation, but is forced to confront some of the aspects to which he has willfully blinded himself...about his master and about religious reform. Shardlake is intelligent, flawed, interesting, and ethical in a difficult time.
In May, Jill mentioned Dissolution again and posted some great links that you might want to check out. Mary and Ann have also given it a thumbs up.
I will certainly want to follow up with Dark Fire and Sovereign.
An interview with the author.
Fiction. Historical/mystery. 2003. 390 pages.