Short Synopsis/Flap Copy
Scotland 1373: Crispinus, the head of Oronsay Priory, is found dead, strangled and battered, his mouth stuffed with sand, in the middle of the tidal strand separating the holy island of Oronsay from the larger island of Colonsay. The Lord of the Isles, overlord of the islands, assigns the task of finding the killer to Muirteach, the Prior’s bastard son.
Since breaking with his father and leaving the monastery, Muirteach has spent his time acting as scribe for his uncle, an island chieftain. Muirteach’s father, a powerful churchman, leaves behind a mistress and several other bastards as well as his embittered eldest son, who is thankful he will never hear the words, “My bastard son, the cripple” again.
As Muirteach seeks to find his father’s murderer he is helped by the physician Fearchar Beaton, and his daughter Mariota. Muirteach himself is suspected of the murder, as are the Prior’s mistress, her family, and the sub-prior. The killer strikes again, His Lordship wants the mystery solved before the Pope and the King in Edinburgh learn of it, and Muirteach himself must come to terms with his own troubled relationship with his father. Muirteach’s investigation submerges him deep into a whirlpool of deceit, long buried sins, and treachery, from which no one emerges unscathed.
About the Author
Susan visited Colonsay several times and extensively researched the Muirteach MacPhee mysteries. She lives in New Mexico, sharing her life with a Native American sculptor and four rambunctious cats. Susan loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via email at s. or through her website www.SusanMcDuffie.net. She is currently working on Muirteach’s next adventure.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1373 Scotland, oyster digger Alasdair Beag finds the murdered corpse of the Oronsay Isle Priory Crispinus McPhee on the beach. Crispinus¿ brother Gillespic informs his nephew Muirteach that he must report the death of his father the Lord of the Isles John MacDonald. Muirteach has mixed feelings about his late father who called him 'My bastard son, the cripple¿, but travels to the see MacDonald regardless so he can inform him. MacDonald assigns Muirteach to investigate and uncover the identity of his dad¿s killer the Lord of the Isles knows he must tell his father King Robert II, but decides to wait until the homicide case is resolved before informing the Pope that one of his key churchman is dead.--------------- Muirteach returns home accompanied by physician Fearchar Beaton and his daughter outspoken Mariota. He begin his inquiry starting with Beag and then with his father¿s handfast mistress and her brothers. As he continues to dig for clues, he learns a much wider truth about his father than just who killed his father and why.-------------------- Historical mystery readers will want to peruse A MASS FOR THE DEAD, an exciting tale that brings to life the political intrigue of fourteenth century Scotland where Church and State intermingle to the benefit of leaders at the cost of followers. The story line is fast-paced but driven by Muirteach, a fully developed individual with likes, hates, and resentments as he is forced to satisfy the whims of his superiors by investigating the death of his loathsome father. As he uncovers the truth with the help of Mariota, sub-genre fans will want to join them on their amateur sleuth caper.---------------- Harriet Klausner