Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose is an unusual book, that looks on the surface like a simple historical mystery but is filled with symbolism, history, religious hysteria and a glimpse into the recesses of the human heart.
When William of Baskerville, (a nod to Sherlock Holmes) and his assistant Adso of Melk, arrive at a monastery in Northern Italy, a murder has just been committed. William, who is known for his analytical mind and powers of deduction, petitions the Abbot to allow him to investigate the death. The Abbey is full of secrets and in possession of rare ancient texts that challenge the beliefs of Medieval Catholicism. As the investigation continues, more murders are committed and the lives of William and Adso fall in jeopardy. The novel works on multiple levels from the mundane, as a thriller and a mystery, as well as work about faith, religion, intolerance, and the universal symbols of existence; all of which is wrapped in a package of amazing language and imagery. It’s a wonderful book for a cold night, so indulge your senses and enjoy.