The Rough Collier
A Gil Cunningham Mystery by Pat McIntosh
Review: Gil Cunningham, legal advisor to the Archbishop of Glasgow, sets out to find answers surrounding a dead body in The Rough Collier, the fifth medieval mystery in this series by Pat McIntosh.
Due to the red hair on the otherwise badly decomposed body, it is thought to be that of Thomas Murray, a landowner missing for more than a month. When Gil examined the remains, however, he assured everyone that they were wrong. The hands were those of a laborer and besides, the bones were clearly much older than just a month or so. Gil and his wife Alys then begin a journey following what should have been Thomas' route to collect rents on his land. But the questions remain: whose body was found, and where is Thomas?
The mystery deepens after Gil and Alys locate someone who had seen Thomas recently and they ultimately discover his body in the home of his friend. Both are dead, presumably poisoned. It seems that several other members of Thomas' family had also been poisoned. Was this just a coincidence? And why would anyone want to kill them? Gil and Alys know they are close to a solution when Alys is lured into a mine shaft with the intent to keep her silent - permanently.
The Rough Collier is a credible whodunit with plenty of red herrings and well-placed misdirection. The rolling hills of the countryside and the small towns around Glasgow are beautifully depicted. However, in an attempt at authenticity, the characters' speech is written in a local Scottish brogue and likely to be unfamiliar to most readers. While most of what is said can be reasonably accurately interpretted (translated into the King's English as it were), it is likely that some of the nuances of the plot are completely lost due to the incomprehension of some of the dialog. Still, those readers willing to make do with the dialect will be rewarded with a fine mystery novel.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Rough Collier.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of The Rough Collier for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Counterfeit Madam
Soho Constable (Hardcover), June 2011
ISBN-13: 9781569479490; ISBN-10: 1569479496
Location(s) referenced in The Rough Collier: Glasgow, Scotland
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The Rough Collier by Pat McIntosh — A Gil Cunningham Mystery
Publisher: Soho Constable
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $24.95