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Posted October 12, 2011
This is a quiet book, calm and relaxed.
Usually in a murder mystery, we have the death(s) in question, and then follow the sleuth-cop, private eye, or interested bystander-as he or she single-mindedly goes about solving the crime. In this uniquely written book, we do not follow the usual rules.
It would be witty and not too far from the truth to describe this book as a Russian novel set in rural Scotland in 1957. We follow Joanne, who we believe to be the main character; then we follow Patricia, to whom we switch our focus; then we have Rob, McAllister, Sinclair.all of whose stories blend seamlessly as each plays their part in both the two deaths that occurred on the same day among people associated with same farm, but miles apart. We get a tremendously involved picture of Scottish society and morés fifty years ago (a place where a man could beat his wife with impunity!) which in itself makes for a pleasant and satisfying read. Since this is an insular community, everyone has some bearing, some interest, some relation to the deceased, and to how they came to their ends.
This is a quiet book, calm and relaxed, yet the author manages, toward the end (as a good mystery writer should) to throw us-again, calmly and with catlike dignity-for a couple of serious loops. We've all read books that we couldn't wait to finish to get on to the next one; but "A Double Death on the Black Isle" is like a visit with an old friend in front of a fireplace on cold wintry night. It's a place you won't want to leave.
Reviewed by Elliott Capon, author of "Prince of Horror" published by Suspense Publishing an imprint of Suspense Magazine
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Posted November 23, 2011