But a series of sinister events, centred round the mythical Green Man, makes Roger question Albany's true motive for requesting his presence. Then, once in Edinburgh, he is required to investigate a murder - and begins to realise that his own life could be in danger.
©2008 Kate Sedley; (P)2008 Soundings
I've enjoyed much of Sedley's "Roger the Chapman" series up to this point. Unfortunately "The Green Man" is not at all up to her usual standard.
Roger seems a shadow of himself: he makes ridiculous mistakes (repeatedly putting his life in the hands of people whom he has good reason to mistrust), fails to draw conclusions that are patently obvious to the reader/listener, and is significantly less likable than in previous books. There is none of his usual compassion and kindness to offset his brusque manner and his nosiness, and his attitude towards the female characters he encounters loses a lot of the sympathy that he's built up with this listener over previous books. He is not usually such a lout! The rest of the characters are either paper thin or lurid and unconvincing (or both), not helped by the absence of Adela and the children.
The plot is rambling and contrived, the narration repetitive and cliched, and part of the focus of the novel seems to be a clumsy and unkind attack on modern Paganism, religious tolerance and transgender people. This was rather a shock, given that Sedley's approach in previous books seems to be far more inclusive and humane. The ending, almost impressively, manages to be both sensationalist and dull.
This audio version is not helped by the narrator, Robbie MacNab, having an exceedingly peculiar and rather irritating speaking style, emphasising the ends of sentences oddly, and sounding totally detached from the book. For which, to be fair, I find it hard to blame him!
"My Initial Encounter With Roger Chapman"
I've been reading historical mysteries for years. Many authors are good, some are great, few make me anticipate another work by the same author mid-listen. Yet this was the case with The Green Man. It is well written. It is also true to the voice and character of it's historical figures. More than that, it's a fun book to be swallowed by. I pretty much guessed the main course of both mysteries, but not any of the details.
You don't need to know anything about Glouchester or Albany because Sedley presents their true characters accurately. She accurately sets the political scene and the social scene of England and Scotland in 1482 without being pedantic. I thoroughly enjoyed The Green Man and am looking forward to hearing The Three Kings of Cologne.
This book takes place a few years into the married life of Roger Chapman, the chapman (peddler). The plot is a bit different from the other books but interesting. A pleasant book to listen to while sitting in traffic.
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