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 of English at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He has presented papers at the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture as well as other conferences. He is the author of about two dozen 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.