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    Review of THE INQUISITOR by Catherine Jinks

    St. Martin's Minotaur, October 2002

    Bernard Peyre enjoys his job as an inquisitor in 14th century France, and believes that he serves a critical role in rooting out heretics and preserving the church. When he gets a new boss, he wonders whether the man might be too strict, but he respects Father Augustin's faith and willingness to re-open old cases--to go after heretics that might have somehow escaped his predecessor. Still, Bernard is concerned that Augustin seems fascinated by a small group of women, living together without the benefit of a priest's oversight. Women, Bernard knows, are surely a cause of a man's downfall.

    When Augustin is found, murdered, while returning from a visit to these women, Bernard is concerned that a heretic might have struck. He visits the women and finds himself in love with one of them. As a monk, Bernard's vows prohibit sexual love, but he is convinced that this love is somehow sacred despite his friend and confessor's strong warnings. When Bernard's new boss arrives with concerns over demon summoning--something that Bernard knows has not happened in his region, things begin to fall out of control.

    Author Catherine Jinks gives life and insight into religious life in medieval France. To the end, Bernard believes in the inquisition, despite what it does to himself and those he loves. Bernard is a wonderful character--quick to justify his actions even when they are truly out of line, often unable to separate lust from divine rapture, and proud of his intelligence at the same time as he is aware of (at least some of) his shortcomings. THE INQUISITOR is not a who-dunnit type of mystery, but it is a fascinating exploration of man's capability for self-delusion and of good intentions leading to terrible results.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/17/02

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