The Sister Fidelma Mysteries

Essays on the Historical Novels of Peter Tremayne


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About the Book

This is a collection of new essays on Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma novels, which feature Sister Fidelma’s attempts to solve a wide range of crimes, often murders that occur under especially mysterious conditions. The novels, set mainly in 7th century Ireland, also include a great deal of history, which is not surprising given that the author is actually Peter Berresford Ellis, a noted Celtic historian. Some of the essays analyze aspects of the novels, focusing especially on the protagonist and her partner in detection and, ultimately, husband, Brother Eadulf. Other essays place Fidelma and the novels within the tradition of detective fiction. Still others explore the historical, intellectual, spiritual and geographical contexts for her labors. Also included are accounts of the author’s career, the International Sister Fidelma Society, and the biennial Sister Fidelma conferences held in Cashel, Ireland.

About the Author(s)

Edward J. Rielly is a professor emeritus of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, where he created and directed the Writing and Publishing program. He is the author or editor of 30 books and lives in Westbrook, Maine.

David Robert Wooten is director of The International Sister Fidelma Society and editor of its magazine, The Brehon. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Edward J. Rielly and David Robert Wooten
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6667-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0034-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Edward J. Rielly and David Robert Wooten       1

Sister Fidelma: A Woman for All Seasons
Edward J. Rielly       5
Who Is Peter Tremayne?
David Robert Wooten       20
The Impact of Sister Fidelma on Irish Crime Fiction
John Scaggs       28
Teaching Sister Fidelma: Two Models
Edward J. Rielly       33
Fidelma’s Position in the Female Detective Genre
Richard Dalby       44
Hidden from History: Fidelma of Cashel and Lost Female Values
Christine Kinealy       50
Brother Eadulf: Monk of Saxmundham
Mairéad Ní Riada       60
Fidelma Locations in Munster (Ireland)
David Robert Wooten       68
Fidelma of Cashel and the Brehon Code
Patrick O’Keefe       80
Druids and Brehons: Fidelma and the Druidic Tradition
Anita M. Vickers       88
A Druid in New Guise
Christiane W. Luehrs and Robert B. Luehrs       98
Fidelma of Cashel: The Plight of the Learned Lady
Mitzi M. Brunsdale       109
Pursuing the Mystery of Religious Life
Patricia C. Flynn       118
The Sister Is a Mother: Sister Fidelma and the Celtic Church
Frank A. Salamone       130
Nothing Hidden That Shall Not Be Known: Mystery and Detection
in the Sister Fidelma Novels
John Scaggs       138
Lady Justice: Social Sleuthing and Sister Fidelma
Jennifer Molidor       151
Fidelma and the Irish Language
Anna Heussaff       160
Fidelma and the Celts of Brittany: Ancient and Modern
Herve Latimier       172
Who Wears the Pants? Role Reversal in the Sister Fidelma Mysteries
M.E. Kemp       182
The International Sister Fidelma Society
David Robert Wooten       189
Féile Fidelma: Its Origins and History
Seamus J. King       196
Interview with Peter Tremayne
Edward J. Rielly       208

INDEX       227

Book Reviews & Awards

“An excellent guide”—Mystery Scene; “the essays in this collection touch on a wide variety of topics that will be of interest to many readers and scholars across a variety of fields”—The Journal of American Culture.