The Nicholas Feast
Gil Cunningham series, Book 2
by Pat McIntosh
The Nicholas Feast opens with young lawyer Gil Cunningham preparing to don the "ridiculous garments" of his
degree at his betrothedís home before going to the ceremonies of the title at his old school, Glasgow University.
Before he leaves, a visitor asks him to carry a package to one of the current students. Gilís agreeable, which is
more than can be said for the lad himself, William Irvine. Still, for all his being just another student, the
longer the feast and all the events around it continue, the more Irvine seems central to all of it. Up to and
When a body is found, Gil, fresh from his success in the first book (The Harperís Quine, also
reviewed on Myshelf.com) and well known at the
university, is the obvious choice to investigate. Itís not all compliments and honor. The deceased was a
Montgomery relation. And, while Gil notes that "The Montgomerys have killed no Cunninghams for at least six
months... that I know of,"† the threats arenít long in coming when they hear about the murder and whoís
Thatís one of the more interesting things about this series. You read Scots history and of course you hear
about the clans. The interactions in these books make it clear what they meant at a very personal level. This
isn't just a matter of who's related to who based on what last name they bear, or which pattern tartan they wear.
Life changing events could be based on nothing more than hearing the name of the person in front of you. The clans
werenít inherently evil in the same way, but thereís some analogy to modern gangs and gang warfare, where a name
is enough to get you killed by people who are strangers with no other reason to wish you ill and that same name
decides who you talk to, do business with, or even marry.
There are a number of subplots filling out the story, much as in real life. Gilís mother is not reconciled to
his changed plans in life and an engaging wolfhound puppy romps through the investigation and life outside of it,
doing its best to help turn both into chaos.
Once again Pat McIntosh offers a compulsively readable story filled with memorable characters, set in a richly
depicted place and time.† These are what historical mysteries are supposed to be about, but even more than that
theyíre simply great fun to read.
Historical Mystery [Glasgow, Scotland 1492]|
More at Amazon.com|