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“Lovers of well-written historicals will welcome Sim's first novel featuring Insp. Archibald Allerdyce and Sgt. Hector McGillivray, set in Scotland in 1865.… Sim does a fine job in bringing the mean streets of Victorian Edinburgh to life…. The absence of a pat resolution makes for a highly satisfying ending.” –Publishers Weekly
"Powerful and thought-provoking, this will appeal to readers who enjoy Ann Perry, Charles Finch, and other authors of Victorian mysteries." —Library Journal
"This is a fabulous Victorian era police procedural that brings to life 1865 Edinburgh as well as the workings of the British bureaucratic aristocratic leadership of that period. The inspector and the sergeant are delightful leads... Alastair Sim provides a strong historical whodunit." —Genre Go Round Reviews
"Lovers of Victorian Gothic mysteries will have loads of fun with this one, quite different in tone from the norm, while lovers of literary fiction will admire the author’s ability to describe and bring the period to life, as he simultaneously conveys important sociological and religious issues.... The author’s brilliant imagery makes the setting and atmosphere come alive, while the complexities of the plot reveal the author’s comprehensive vision of society." —MaryWhippleReviews.com
"Believe me when I tell you that The Unbelievers is one of the best historical mysteries I've read this year. It has an ending that is quite disturbing. I won't be forgetting this one for a long time. The killer was truly deplorable. I hope to see Inspector Allerdyce - if he fully recovers from his ordeals - and Sergeant McGillivray in a sequel." —GumshoeReview.com
"A brooding, Victorian murder mystery set in the Scottish Highlands and featuring Inspector Allerdyce and Sergeant McGillivray... In the tradition of Charles Finch and The Somnambulist, Alastair Sim has crafted a memorable, atmospheric novel that covers new ground in the world of Victorian mysteries." —NightOwlSuspense.com
A police inspector tracks a Duke's killer in 1865 Scotland.
Nineteenth-century Edinburgh is a dark industrial city whose shadows Inspector Allerdyce knows all too well. Still mourning his first wife despite his remarriage, Allerdyce has thrown himself into the work of bringing justice to the slums. But when William Bothwell-Scott, Duke of Dornoch, goes missing, the Chief Constable insists that Allerdyce focus all his attention on the peers of the realm. The Duke had a penchant for the low life. With the aid of the Duke's shady valet, Allerdyce and Sergeant McGillivray comb the bawdyhouses and betting parlors of Edinburgh only to find the Duke shot dead, dumped in a well on his own estate. The Duke might have been blackmailed, but his brutal management of his tenant farmers and mineworkers also made him plenty of enemies—including Allerdyce's assistant, McGillivray, whose family was forcibly deported from their ancestral home on Dornoch lands. Corrupt higher-ups in the police force would like nothing better than to pin the murder on labor agitators. When the Duke's brother and heir is found dead too, McGillivray is set to take the fall. Allerdyce must find the real killer in time to save his friend and bring the truth to light, no matter how damning to the aristocracy.
Victorian yet gritty, a debut that will intrigue fans of police procedurals and historical fiction alike.
Posted August 2, 2010
In the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Queen Victoria, the Duke of Dornoch vanishes without a trace in Scotland. Chief Constable Sir Joseph Stewart, Her majesty's Secretary for Scotland Viscount Dunstre, the Lord Advocate Lord Kinnordy, and Superintendent Burgess inform Inspector Archibald Allerdyce that this is a delicate matter so they must investigate with tact. Allerdyce and Sergeant Hector McGillivray begin their inquiries although the lead inspector publicly obeys but silently objects as he knows the foolishness of the aristocracy can prove a waste of time; he prefers inquiries into commoners.
The inspector quickly finds out that just before the aristocrat disappeared he received a telegram. On the Dornoch estate in Edinburgh, the two sleuths find his corpse in a well. The brass wants Allerdyce to find evidence that will hang a troublemaking mine union leader However, a second homicide has Allerdyce fearing the killer is someone he knows and cares about.
This is a fabulous Victorian era police procedural that brings to life 1865 Edinburgh as well as the workings of the British bureaucratic aristocratic leadership of that period. The inspector and the sergeant are delightful leads as they go from diplomatic low keyed inquiries into a missing duke to an assertive still discreet murder mystery and ultimately aggressive multi homicide investigation. Although readers will spot the killer before the cops, no one will care as Alastair Sim provides a strong historical whodunit.
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Posted June 21, 2011
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