cover image A Rattle of Bones: A Rebecca Connolly Thriller

A Rattle of Bones: A Rebecca Connolly Thriller

Douglas Skelton. Arcade CrimeWise, $26.99 (312p) ISBN 978-1-956763-01-0

Skelton’s outstanding third Rebecca Connolly thriller (after 2021’s The Blood Is Still) finds the Scottish newshound pursuing a solicitor who has evidence that promises to cast doubt on the murder conviction of James Stewart, imprisoned 10 years earlier for killing his gay lover, high-profile lawyer and activist Murdo Maxwell. Media focus on banners at historical sites proclaiming the innocence of his namesake, clan leader James Stewart, executed in 1752 for murdering a government official, has brought extensive attention to this newer miscarriage of justice. While Rebecca, who now works for a small news agency, deftly handles Stewart’s strong, chic mother and Murdo’s still-grieving sister, sinister forces threaten to undermine her pursuit of the emerging story. Stewart’s angry father, displeased about things Rebecca and her colleagues wrote about his son, terrorizes her, and an enigmatic political leader, Finbar Dalgleish, and underworld toughs, including crime matriarch Mo Burke, ominously lurk in the shadows. Once again, Skelton carefully draws together the many plot strands in this rewarding slow-burner, rich in both characters and landscapes. Skelton remains a writer to watch. Agent: Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Assoc. (Nov.)