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Dissolution: a Novel of Tudor England.

C.J. Sansom. 2003. Read by Simon Jones. Abridged. 8 cds. 9.5 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 1-56511-755-7 $34.95. Cardboard; plot, author, reader notes. SA

Secret passageways, clanging bells, hooded monks, stained glass windows, poverty-stricken supplicants, chill weather, and revelations of dark happenings provide the colorful backdrop to an absorbing mystery. It unfolds in the days when King Henry VIII, aided by reformist government officials, dissolved the Catholic monasteries of England, killing or scattering their inhabitants. Dr. Matthew Shardlake, an attorney with a disfiguring humpback, and his young apprentice Mark Poet are sent by Cromwell to the monastery at Scarnsea to look into the murder of another investigator. The life of the monastery and its quirky inhabitants come into focus as Shardlake solves the crime. He observes with mixed feelings the destruction of the monks' way of life; sad finality sets in when workmen dismantle the ancient buildings.

Jones has a fine, rich voice, and he sensitively depicts individual characters. He portrays the perfidious, stuttering bursar especially well. An excellent, absorbing tale that will please the many lovers of spine-tingling mysteries set in big old castles. Limited references to sex and torture (not together). Too bad that the disks are encased in a difficult-to-use little file. Edna M. Boardman, Bismark, ND
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Author:Boardman, Edna M.
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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