First print-published by Five Star/Gale in 2007.
Fire in the Borders
The rolling hills of the Scottish Borders have seen centuries of fire—Scots, English, battling kings, feuding lords, rampaging clansmen, raiding, looting, killing. But the fire at brooding Ferniebank Castle wasn’t set by an enemy. Isabel Sinclair died there four hundred years ago, on her way to a lover’s tryst, in the conflagration kindled by her own burning-glass.
Or so the story goes.
Now Jean Fairbairn is on her way to write Ferniebank’s story—and to her own tryst with ex-cop Alasdair Cameron, who is now a caretaker of historic properties. He has at last lowered his personal drawbridge for Jean, and they plan to set decaying Ferniebank alight.
But they’re not alone. Ciara Macquarrie, a New Age mythobabbler from Alasdair’s past, plans to transform the castle and its chapel into a bright new conference center and spa. Especially since the chapel was built by the same long-dead hands as cryptic Rosslyn—now a hot tourist attraction, thanks to a popular story titled The Da Vinci Code.
In Scotland, plans go up in smoke. Stories shift and change like reflections in antique glass. Buried secrets rise to haunt the living. The Ferniebank clarsach, Isabel’s harp, disappears—even while its music lingers on. Vandals lurk in the night. Death visits both the castle dungeon and chapel’s ancient well.
To his frustration, Alasdair now has to work in the shadow of the official force. But when the darkness clears, it’s Jean who finds herself facing a murderer.
The Burning Glass is a story of mystery and suspense tightly woven with Jean and Alasdair’s personal story. It takes place in Scotland, on the ever-shifting shore between history and myth, a place where (mis)perception kindles many a fire.
About the Author
After starting out in science fiction and fantasy, Lillian Stewart Carl is now writing contemporary novels blending mystery, romance, and fantasy, along with short mystery and fantasy stories. Her work often includes paranormal themes. It always features plots based on history and archaeology. While she doesn’t write comedy, she believes in characters with a sense of humor. Her fantasies are set in a mythological, alternate-history Mediterranean and India. Her contemporary novels are set in Texas, in Ohio, in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, and in England and Scotland. Of her Shadows in Scarlet, Publishers Weekly says: "Presenting a delicious mix of romance and supernatural suspense, Carl (Ashes to Ashes) delivers yet another immensely readable tale. She has created an engaging cast and a very entertaining plot, spicing the mix with some interesting twists on the ghostly romantic suspense novel." Of her Lucifer's Crown, Library Journal says: "Blending historical mystery with a touch of the supernatural, the author creates an intriguing exploration of faith and redemption in a world that is at once both modern and timeless. Among many other novels, Lillian is the author of the Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron cross-genre mystery series: America’s exile and Scotland’s finest on the trail of all-too-living legends. Of The Secret Portrait, Kirkus says: Mystery, history and sexual tension blend with a taste of the wild beauty of the Highlands. Of The Burning Glass, Publishers Weekly says: "Authentic dialect, 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." With John Helfers, Lillian co-edited The Vorkosigan Companion, a retrospective on Lois McMaster Bujold’s science fiction work, which was nominated for a Hugo award. Her first story collection, Along the Rim of Time, was published in 2000, and her second, The Muse and Other Stories of History, Mystery, and Myth, in 2008, including three stories that were reprinted in Year's Best mystery anthologies. Her books are available in both print and electronic editions, and her web site is http://www.lillianstewartcarl.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There's a lot to like in this series of books. I will admit, Alasdair's connection to one of the guest characters in this book left me a bit baffled. They certainly didn't seem to have much in common. But, I'm seriously in love with Scotland, so this series of books has been a treat. Jean and Alasdair's struggles to figure out a relationship got a bit uncomfortable at times. Will be glad when they get beyond all the past relationship issues, and just get on with being together. All in all, though, I loved this book, and the whole series. Will definitely read all of her books.
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