Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Privy Counsel Book Club: Dissolution

Intellectual Friend is back in our good books after doing us an undisclosed favour, and we now feel perky enough to tell you about a most exciting book we've read recently. It's a historical whodunnit set in 16th-century England, called Dissolution, (London, Pan Books 2007) by C. J. Sansom (aren't you dying to know what the C. J. stands for?).

We've got a treat for you: the main character, the hunchbacked Master Shardlake, is pondering monasterial plumbing:

I passed a row of dovecotes, beyond which a large pond surrounded by reeds could be seen.  It was a stewpond, dug out for the keeping and breeding of fish.  The little stream flowed into it before running through a small culvert under the rear wall a little way off.  There was a heavy wooden gate nearby.  Monasteries, I recalled, were always built by a stream to carry away waste.  The early monks were clever plumbers; there was probably some arrangement to divert the waste to prevent it befouling the fish pond. (161)

There are all kinds of goings-on in the monasterial privies as well, but we'll leave it to you to find out what!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...