Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Rough Collier by Pat McIntosh

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Rough Collier by Pat McIntosh. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Rough Collier by Pat McIntoshBuy from Amazon.com

The Rough Collier by
A Gil Cunningham Mystery

Soho Constable (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-507-5 (1569475075)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-507-2 (9781569475072)
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Gil Cunningham, a young notary, has escaped a life in the Church to become the Archbishop’s Questioner only to be accused of causing a man’s death by witchcraft. Gil and his young wife must solve the crime to save him.

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 for contributing her review of The Rough Collier and to Soho Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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