Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Nicholas Feast
Gil Cunningham Murder Mysteries

by Pat McIntosh

      A scant two weeks after the events of The Harper's Quine (also reviewed on this site) newly qualified lawyer Gilbert Cunningham has another case to solve. The Arts Faculty of his old university is having its annual feast, and it is time to get the robes out of mothballs to attend. As well as the banquet, there is also a play performed by the students and Nicholas is quick to spot William Irvine, a redheaded troublemaker. As the heavens open and students scramble to their leaky lodgings to rescue precious books William cannot be found--but his body is, in the coalhouse. He has been murdered, and it is up to Nicholas plus his fiancée Alys and her stonemason father Pierre to help. As if that it not enough, Nicholas' mother descends upon him with reasons as to why he should not be married.

      Last year I read and enjoyed the first novel in this series, so I was pleased to read the second and find that I liked it even more. The characters are getting into their stride now, and there is a lot to enjoy in here. As before, there is a teasing plot replete with red herrings, some humor, lots of tangled relationships and wonderful tactile descriptions of late mediaeval Glasgow. It's easy to like the protagonists, which helps, and there is Scottish history at its most convoluted with everybody either related or deadly enemies (usually both) and the larger-than-life politics of the day. As with the first book there is a tendency for the laudable heroes to appear in stark contrast to some totally iniquitous villains and a little gray shading wouldn't be amiss for realism's sake. A glossary would be useful too--there is not as much Glaswegian dialect in this book as in the first, but guessing isn't enough to identify all the unfamiliar words. This is not a book to gallop through; there is so much packed within its two covers that it needs to be savored for the full effect. Highly recommended-- I hope this series will run and run.

The Book

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
23 June 2005
Historical Crime [1492, Glasgow]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005