Smoke in the Wind (Sister Fidelma Mysteries)
Journeying to visit the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Sister Fidelma and her companion Eadulf's ship is blown badly off course and the pair find themselves on the coast of the Welsh kingdom of Dyfe. Hosted by the king himself, Fidelma is presented with a mystery-an entire monastic community nearby has disappeared without a trace.
Efa had stolen it. ‘Some time afterwards a shepherd named Iolo started herding sheep at Garn Fechan. He was raising a boy named Idwal, who was not his son. Here in Llanwnda, Iorwerth the smith married a local girl called Esyllt and had a daughter whom they named Mair. Iorwerth did not treat his wife, Esyllt, well. She subsequently died. In his guilt he became devoted to his daughter. Idwal, foster son of Iolo, was a simple, kindly youth, and he and Mair appeared strangely drawn to one another.’
Three more carcasses lay ready to be plucked for the next day’s meal. ‘I will show you to your rooms,’ she said, rising and wiping her hands on a cloth. Brother Meurig replied by suggesting that food should be taken to the boy and his restriction eased. ‘Food I will take,’ replied the woman woodenly. ‘Ask Gwnda about his bonds.’ ‘I shall,’ agreed Brother Meurig. ‘We were wondering what you meant when you said that Mair was deserving of death?’ Buddog’s features distorted with a little
questions that Fidelma had asked about the broken sword. There had been no blood on it and the broken end was not in any of the bodies. ‘Are you saying that this was deliberately done in order to make people think that Saxons were responsible?’ he asked, bewildered. ‘Are you saying that there is no Saxon connection?’ Fidelma shook her head immediately. ‘The Saxon in the tomb and the Saxon ship anchored off the coast are somehow connected with this mystery. But I am not sure how.’ He regarded
‘Wait we must,’ she replied calmly. ‘We must be patient.’ ‘Have you forgotten the threat from Clydog and his men?’ ‘I have not. As I have told you, I think he also provides a key which may unravel this mystery.’ The countryside in which they were riding fell away on their left to a coastline consisting of dramatic cliffs and deep rocky coves. Here and there they could see seal pups cavorting in the water, while mingling with the sea birds were a few buzzards emitting their mewing ‘kiew’ as
morning they only washed their face and hands. Eadulf had always considered this toilet rather excessive. In his own land, bathing was often confined to a swim in a nearby river and then only infrequently. But the Irish made a ritual of cleanliness, and used a cake of a fatty substance called sléic to create a lather which washed away the dirt. Now Eadulf missed the heated bath water, the immersion in the tub called a debach in which were placed sweet-smelling herbs, the vigorous towelling with