A TRUST BETRAYED by Candace
First Chapter of Margaret Kerr of Perth
Mysterious Press / Time Warner - April 2001
ISBN 0892967080 - Hardcover
Reviewed by Rachel Hyde,
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Candace Robb has entranced many historical mystery fans with her beautifully crated tales of Owen Archer and mediaeval York. Now she turns to Scotland at the time of Robert the Bruce and introduces us to a new sleuth – Margaret Kerr.
When the book opens it is Spring 1297 and Margaret has the unfortunate task of seeing to the burial of Jack Sinclair, her husband’s cousin and factor who was stabbed when he went looking for her missing merchant husband Roger. Rather than sit at home waiting and worrying she decides to go forth herself to investigate, travelling to Edinburgh (where he was last seen) in the company of her servant Celia (who wants to be a fine lady’s maid) and her brother Andrew, a priest. When she gets there she finds her uncle Murdoch less welcoming than she had hoped. Murdoch runs an inn and the city is swarming with English soldiers who are occupying the place and patrolling the streets. Can she find out what has become of her husband, find out who killed Jack and keep out of trouble? And just what were Roger and Jack up to anyway?
This is a very well realised setting for a novel and chilly, occupied Edinburgh is so meticulously described that it is the next best thing to being there in a time machine. On the whole I was less impressed with the actual plot which takes its time to gain momentum and could do with a few more twists and turns earlier on in the story to keep the whole thing simmering. Instead of action there was description and although this is very well and brought the setting to life my attention wasn’t as riveted as it is by the Owen Archer series where the writer skilfully manages to combine thrilling plot with portrayal of the city of York and its environs. Add a bit more action, fill out with a teasing plot and this will be the equal of the other series for what mediaeval history aficionado can resist reading about Robert the Bruce and William Wallace? I look forward to the second book in the series to see how it all develops.
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