Monday, 16 August 2010

Hue and Cry by Shirley McKay

Murder - 16th Century Style
review by Maryom

Hew Cullan returns home to St Andrews after 6 years studying Law in Paris and is immediately caught up in the events surrounding the death of a thirteen year old boy, the private pupil of an old friend, Nicholas Colp. Gossip insists there was too close a relationship between pupil and master, and following the discovery of incriminating letters Nicholas is the main suspect. Believing that this cannot be true, Hew sets out to investigate.
Hue And Cry is an absorbing murder mystery set in 16th century Scotland, a time when homosexuality was punishable by death, when the sight of burning at the stake was seemingly commonplace. In some ways Hew Cullan with his abhorrence for punishments meted out by the legal system seems a little too modern and out of step with his environment to ring true, but otherwise this is an excellent read. Shirley McKay presents the reader with a cast of believable characters, with their varying concerns and secrets - university scholars, merchants and tradespeople of the town, the almost outcast dyer and his family.
I thought I'd managed to outsmart the author and guess the culprit's identity - but I was wrong, deliberately led up a blind alley. Despite its slightly contrived ending to reveal the killer and expose the corruption within the College, Hue and Cry is an excellent read. One that should appeal to lovers of Brother Cadfael and other historical murder mysteries.

Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Polygon
Genre - Adult historical crime

Hue and Cry: A Hew Cullen Mystery (Hew Cullan Mystery 1) is available from Amazon

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