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The Counterfeit Madam
Gil Cunningham Mystery Series – Book VIII
Pat McIntosh

Constable (Constable and Robinson)
19 May 2011 / ISBN 9781849014786
Historical Mystery / 1494 /Glasgow, Scotland
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by
Rachel A Hyde

Fierce old Dame Isabella wants Gil’s young ward John to inherit one of her properties, and she has another in mind for his sister Isobel, one of her goddaughters. John is to be disinherited now that his mother’s husband John Sempill has remarried and has a son of his own on the way. His new wife is none other than Magdalen Boyd who is another goddaughter of Isabella. One of the properties is being used as a brothel, and why is there so much counterfeit money around? When Isabella is found dead, Gil has another investigation on his hands.

This series of books really does transport the reader back in time to late 15th century Glasgow. Ms. McIntosh does an admirable job of describing the sights, sounds and even smells of the time and place, as well as the dialect. I always say that a glossary would be a good thing, but in this particular book I would also like to have use of a dramatis personae. There are a lot of characters who have often rather complex links with each other so maybe some family trees might be handy too…there is a helpful map which is something. If you enjoy stories with very complicated plots you will love this, as there is a lot to untangle here, although I have read others in the series that were more exciting. We get to meet some new characters, many of whom are connected to those we already know, as well as a few from earlier stories such as the sister Kate and her family, the harper and Sempill which ties the books together nicely. This is therefore not a story that could be described as standalone, but renewing acquaintance with earlier characters and story strands is one of the things that make this a strong and imaginative series.


Reviewed 2011
© 2011