The Rough Collier

Pat McIntosh, Author . Soho Constable $24.95 (302p) ISBN 978-1-56947-507-2

McIntosh's fifth medieval whodunit to feature Archbishop's Quaestor (constable) Gil Cunningham (after 2007's St. Mungo's Robin ) may frustrate some mystery fans because whether a conventional crime has been committed is unclear for a long time. When a corpse turns up in a peat bog, its skull crushed and throat slit, in Beltane parish outside Glasgow, no one has a clue how long the remains have been buried. The parish chaplain blames village healer Beatrice “Beattie” Lithgo and demands her arrest based on his obsessive reading of a tome on witchcraft. Gil and his new bride, Alys Mason, try to identify the body and clear Beattie's name, traveling from haunted coal mines to the coast, where they interview “salt boilers” who may have known the victim, rumored to be decadent fee collector Thomas Murray. More cadavers spark lurid allegations about Murray's relationship with a young collier (coal miner) and other missing men. An unconvincing confession briefly distracts Gil and Alys from the case's shocking resolution. U.S. readers should be prepared for plenty of Scottish brogue (“I wouldny ken about that”). (May)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Open Ebook - 172 pages - 978-1-84901-864-7
Hardcover - 302 pages - 978-1-84529-472-4
Paperback - 329 pages - 978-1-56947-581-2
Open Ebook - 173 pages - 978-1-56947-772-4
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