THE HARPER'S QUINE

Pat McIntosh, Author
Pat McIntosh, Author . Carroll & Graf $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1349-3
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-84119-695-4
Hardcover - 978-1-84559-057-4
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-0-7867-1996-9
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-1-56947-552-2
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-1-84529-461-8
Open Ebook - 170 pages - 978-1-84901-860-9
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Lovers of quality historicals will welcome McIntosh's debut, a convincing whodunit set in 15th-century Glasgow. Lawyer Gilbert Cunningham, a progressive and empathic young man, is letting entropy propel him toward a life in the priesthood. His natural intelligence, curiosity and logic serve him in good stead when he stumbles across the corpse of a young woman on the grounds of a cathedral. The victim proves to be the estranged wife of a nobleman who had left him for a harper. Assisted by the forward and independent daughter of a local mason, Cunningham carefully examines forensic clues as well as the mysteries of the human heart to uncover the twisted soul responsible for a number of deaths. Impressively, the author manages to avoid false or anachronistic notes in depicting Scottish life in 1492. While some historical references will be obscure to an American audience, they don't detract from a clever plot, littered with fair clues to the puzzles. The rough justice that befalls the villain is a little contrived, but there's every reason for the legions of fans of the late Ellis Peters to anticipate the next Cunningham mystery. (Aug. 1)

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