Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Constable Crime
Release Date: April 2003
ISBN: 1841196916
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Historical Crime [1896, Orkney, British Isles]
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde

An Orkney Murder
Rose McQuinn, Book 3
By Alanna Knight 

     Alanna Knight is the author of twelve novels set in Victorian Edinburgh and chronicling the cases of Chief Inspector Faro. Now she is setting down the equally diverting-but rather different-cases of his intrepid daughter, the female private detective Rose McQuinn. In contrast to the usual Edinburgh setting, this one takes Rose back to her roots on Orkney and her first visit there for many years. She is visiting her sister Emily, who is now married to the widower Erland Yesnaby, the well-off scion of an ancient Orcadian family. But soon her innocent holiday turns out to be anything but, as a body has been unearthed by archaeologists from a nearby peat bog, but instead of the longed-for Maid of Norway it is somebody rather more recent, and very close to home. This makes Rose wonder just how much she knows about her old home, and her own family.

     This tale has a highly gothic flavor about it and ought to appeal to all those who are mourning the demise of this diverting sub-genre. Family secrets, a hint of the supernatural, romance and a beautifully well-realized setting make this the sort of tale that Victoria Holt might have penned-it is even narrated by the protagonist. What it lacks in action it more than makes up for in atmosphere, and after finding the first Rose McQuinn novel, The Inspector's Daughter (also reviewed on this site), overly sentimental and lacking in incident, I wasn't sure what to expect, but this series is truly getting into its stride now, and a bit different to any other Victorian detective series--which is always a good thing. I still hope that Ms Knight might decide to pen a book or two about Rose and Danny's American adventures, which are alluded to and sound highly thrilling. A series about the crime-solving exploits of a Pinkerton operative and his wife in frontier Dakota would be something new and a worthy addition to the growing sub-genre of the historical whodunit. Until then, I will eagerly await the next Rose McQuinn mystery.

Reviews of previous titles in this series

An Orkney Murder #3
Ghost Walk #4
Destroying Walk #5

Murder Lies Waiting #9

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