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Friday, 25 March 2011


My Friday's Forgotten Book for today. The Sixth Lamentation by William Brodrick is a 2003 mystery novel. It takes place in 1996 and features Father Anselm, a monk at Larkwood Priory, Suffolk; he used to be barrister. For some reason Schwermann, a fugitive war criminal, seeks sanctuary here. Nearby, Agnes is dying and before she breathes her last she gives her granddaughter Lucy some notebooks, diaries that reveals secrets and hopes from Agnes’s days working in the French Resistance. Lucy’s interested in Pascal Fougeres, who seems connected in some way with Schwermann.

‘I wish he’d left the past alone. It’s not a safe place while it touches on the living.’

Threads that connect to the past, to tragic events in France in 1942. When there was betrayal and death. Apparently, the Church was involved in the cover-up of two escaping Nazi sympathisers who were responsible for the collapse of the resistance group called the Round Table – Agnes’s group. One of the hiding war criminals is discovered in Whitley Bay, my home town! There’s love and tragedy and forgiveness.

‘But it was too late. Certain things, once said, can change at a stroke the interior workings of love, leaving the outside architecture untouched.’

This is an interesting, intriguing and convoluted story about history and the truths disguised as falsehoods – and the reverse. Brodrick’s characters come across as ordinary flawed people, some with mysterious pasts, others ignorant of their connections with bloody events. The writing style is eloquent, the words moving.

‘Lucy, you’ll find as you get older you start seeing yourself from the outside. Particularly your childhood…’

Brodrick used to be an Augustinian friar then left the order to become a barrister.
Different. Recommended.

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