The Burning Glass

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Waterville, ME 2007 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 397 p. Five Star First Edition Mystery. Audience: General/trade.

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The Burning Glass

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Veteran Carl brings Great Scotreporter Jean Fairbairn and ex-cop Alasdair Cameron to the hills of the Scottish border in their engaging third outing (after The Murder Hole). Alasdair, now a security guard at crumbling, haunted Ferniebank Castle, and Jean, on assignment to do a story about the history and legends of the castle before its transformation into a spa and conference center, anticipate a romantic two-week idyll. Then a councilor in the nearby town of Stanelaw goes missing, as does a folk harp once played for Mary, Queen of Scots. When three people die in quick succession, the lovers dive into a dangerous and intriguing investigation. Authentic dialect (marred only by too-frequent clichés), detailed descriptions of the castle and environs, and vivid characters recreate an area rich in history and legend. The tightly woven plot is certain to delight history fans with its dramatic collision of past and present. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A plan to capitalize on the connection between Ferniebank, a Scottish Border Castle, and recently famous Rosslyn Chapel goes awry. American-born journalist Jean Fairbairn and ex-policeman Alasdair Cameron (The Murder Hole, 2006, etc.) are meeting at Ferniebank for a romantic holiday. Alasdair, newly appointed head of security for Protect and Survive, has temporarily taken over duties at the castle after the caretaker's demise. He's suspicious of the death and of several others that have been labeled accidents. Alasdair and Jean are treated to a visit from the resident ghost, whose harp, the Ferniebank clarsach, was stolen and than reappeared. Mystic Scotland, the new owner of Ferniebank, turns out to be run by Alasdair's ex-wife Ciara Macquarrie, who has a lucrative book deal based on the idea that Ferniebank-through its chapel, built by the same hand as Rosslyn-is linked to the ideas made famous by The Da Vinci Code. When cooking-school owner and local grande dame Minty Rutherford's husband, whose family sold Ferniebank to Mystic Scotland, is found dead, Alasdair finally convinces the officer in charge that it may be murder by poison. The sad tale of the castle ghost, some territorial policeman, a religious fanatic and other odd characters transform Jean and Alasdair's idyll into a full-scale murder hunt. A little romance, a dash of mystery and a soupcon of history make a hearty, if overly complicated, dish.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    terrific Fairburn-Alasdair whodunit

    Great Scot magazine sends American expatriate reporter Jean Fairbairn to do a story on ancient haunted Ferniebank Castle before the renovation to change it into a modern day conference center and spa occurs. However, to Jean the excitement is not in the story instead she knows that former police officer Alasdair Cameron works security at the crumbling castle. They plan a fortnight of loving decadence amidst the ruins even though the legend of the place is that Isabel Sinclair, who allegedly died four centuries ago on the way to a tryst in a fire caused by her burning glass, still haunts the place --- However, instead of privacy as they expected, others have plans for the castle¿s artifacts. Soon item go missing like Isabel¿s harp that played for Queen Mary and three killings follow. As the local cops bungle the case while telling Alasdair to butt out, he conducts his own serendipitous inquiry at the same time, Jean tries to stay out of the homicide investigation after her previous experiences (see THE MURDER HOLE and THE SECRET PORTRAIT) and avoid myth-babbling renovator and da Vinci Code dreamer Ciara Macquarrie, who intimately knows Alasdair, finds herself caught in the killer¿s web. --- Though the local dialect can become intrusive almost as much as authentic, this is a terrific Fairburn-Alasdair whodunit with whimsical hints of the paranormal adding to the fun. The story line is fast-paced as the ex cop dives into the mystery while the journalist wonders what happened to two weeks of romance. With a strong investigative plot, readers will enjoy this fine entry in what is an entertaining series. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 20, 2011

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