Monday, May 04, 2020

Laugh out Loud at Hermitage, Wat, and Some Murder or Other

                                                     Hermitage, Wat, and Some Murder or Other
                                                                  by  Howard of Warrick   

Somewhere I saw a blurb for this book that called it “Norman Nonsense.” What an apt description. The series features a bumbling lovable medieval monk named Hermitage, and two sidekicks-- an itinerant weaver of dirty tapestries named Wat, and a fiery young girl named Gwen who is masquerading as a boy.  In the first book Hermitage has been sort of accidently named the King’s investigator of murders and in the ensuing volumes he and his little group continue to travel the Wessex countryside solving bizarre crimes.

In this one they are sent to Norman France and are met almost immediately with a strange assortment of bodies.  One is a blacksmith whose head has been replaced by an anvil and another is a wheelwright who has been penetrated by the spoke of a wheel that he has been built into. What makes these outings enjoyable is that they look at first glance to be similar to the Brother Cadfael series, but they turn out to be wacky Brother Cadfael parodies. Cadfael investigates in dead seriousness (pardon the pun), but Warrick’s characters come right out of Laurel and Hardy or the Marx Brothers. The villains are horribly bloodthirsty beyond words, the main characters are likable bunglers, and the rest of the world around them seems to come from central casting for  looney tunes. The dialog style abounds with jokey historical references and clever plays on words. 

When taken as a whole there is a nice relief here from the more serious murder mystery genre. You might even say it provides relief from serious reading in general and god knows we Just might need some of that in these trying times.  


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