#AW80Books -We aren’t in Italy anymore, Toto.

Gosh darn it! I picked Umberto Eco’s The Name Of The Rose (I am typing that in an accent a Dolmio advert would be proud of, the least you can do is read it that way) as my Italian choice, only to discover there is so little setting foot outside the monastery, it doesn’t count. If we change this challenge to #AW80Monasteries then boom, I’m onto a winner. However, from what I can gather, they don’t vary that much, anyway. All the various Christian orders all over the world seem to wear the same roomy togs and eat a lot of basic food like bread and root vegetables. There’s probably a diet gimmick in there, I could write a book about how to lose weight eating a lot of porridge and chanting.


I also keep expecting (or wishing) that Cadfael would turn up. I love both the Ellis Peters books and the TV show, and Derek Jacobi is the superest (totally a word) of all the super monks. If Eco’s Brother William of Baskerville were to team up with brother Cadfael, no murderer would be safe, ever, anywhere. They would hunt them down with clever use of logic and herbal remedies. It would be like the Avengers Assemble, but with more bee keeping and less Samuel L. Jackson.


Cadfael and Hugh, going after the person that cut their fringes.


There is a film adaptation of The Name Of The Rose that I once watched part of with my parents some years ago, but due to a sex scene I feigned sleep to avoide my dad trying to make light of embarrassment with silly jokes ‘Oof! Monks didn’t do that back in my day!’ (Your day? It’s set in 1327, very much post your day,) then I actually did fall asleep.  But I’m really not sure about Sean Connery as Brother William. Him, and his level-headed, open-minded goodness are what makes the book. Also, the invention of glasses, and people’s wonder at magnification is featured. These days CSI has ruined all excitement at wonder for us. If you told me I could be identified by exhaling air at the scene of a crime I wouldn’t be surprised.


Now tell me, is that better, or worse? Which is clearer now, the red or the green line?

It’s an Agatha Christie-esque situation where they may as well be an island as the murderer is definitely among us, but presented as found papers, an account of the situation transcribed many years later, to make it seem authentic. This is a good book, Cafael-wishing aside. It’s one of those murder mysteries where you feel you’ve learned something. That something is nothing about Italy, but never mind.