Can a woman have a good time in a monk’s habit?

Pelagia and the Black Monk

Boris Akunin

Phoenix, 9780753823750, £7.99

Slumming it with trash fiction. An engaging, romping read with more than a Rosa Mystica whiff of Russian Orthodoxy thrown in. But trash. But then it is fiction – and isn’t fiction always trash? After all it is not art, is it? It is one of the three ‘F’s – Fiction, Film and Food that can never rise above the level of entertainment, whatever the literateurs, the auteurs and the gourmands would have you believe.

So where has the review gone? Well, we don’t need one. There are monks and nuns and monks who are not monks and nuns who are too feisty for their habits and a whole load of vaguely plausible shenanigans, to be taken with a hunk of black bread and several snicks of salt. It is fun, pacy, full of colour and period setting and to tell you more would be to give away the plot.

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