St. Martin's, Nov 2001, 23.95, 288 pp.
Sister Fidelma of Cashmal, daughter and sister to kings, takes a pilgrimage to Iberia to visit the Shrine of St. James. She needs a respite from her royal sibling and from the Saxon monk Eadulf. She knows she has found her life's calling as a religieure, but hopes this odyssey will help her sort some mixed feelings especially her feelings about Eadulf.
Alas, poor Fidelma received no respite on her trek as her luck deserts her from the start when she meets first love Cian, who unceremoniously dumped her years ago. Soon two women are killed and attempts on Fidelma's life occur. With the ship's captain blessing, Fidelma begins investigating the homicides.
In the eighth installment of the Sister Fidelma historical mysteries, readers obtain a glimpse at the heart and soul of the heroine that paints a vivid picture of life in eight-century Ireland. The who-done-it is a marvelous piece of misdirection, as the villain remains hidden until the end. When revealed, the audience will feel pity towards the culprit. ACT OF MERCY is a fantastic Dark Ages who-done-it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner