Series: Chronicles of Isaac of Girona #1
Genres: Historical Mystery
Published by Berkley on 1 May 1998
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Remedy for Treason is set in the small town of Girona, Spain in 1353. Isaac, the blind Jewish physician is asked by the Bishop of Girona to investigate why a nun died in the public baths. Along the way we meet his family and a young Moor (Yusef) with a very big secret. Medora Sales who writes under the pseudonym of Caroline Roe has a PhD in medieval history and this makes for a rich, evocative tale.
Isaac is a very intelligent if introspective man and this along with his strong moral compass make him a perfect investigator (in the eyes of the political Bishop of Girona). They very quickly determines that the woman who died isn’t really a nun because she still has her long red locks and no nuns have gone missing from the local nunnery. She is in fact one of the Queen’s attendants in disguise. No one seems to know exactly what she was doing or how she ended up dead in the baths but Isaac is suspects he has stumbled across a conspiracy to bring down the monarchy.
Although I enjoyed all the characters, I very quickly developed a soft spot for the cheeky Yusef. He has undergone significant hardship and tragedy in his short years. Others would have been crushed by it but he has emerged as a resourceful and determined boy. Watching him find his place in Isaac’s household was delightful.
If you are in the mood for fast action, then you really need to look elsewhere. The pace is leisurely and the mystery is interrupted by flashbacks, realistic religious tensions and Isaac’s domestic dramas. Isaac’s investigative technique involves questioning people, meditating on the information and carefully forming a hypothesis. With a book like this, the journey to the solution is far more important than the solution itself.
This is one series that I keep coming back to over the years. I think I have read this book and the others at least a dozen times as I love immersing myself in 14th century Spain.