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Gently North West
The Inspector George Gently Case Files - Book XV
Alan Hunter

Robinson (Constable and Robinson)
18 October 2012/ ISBN 9781780339405
Mystery / 1967 / Scottish Highlands
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Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

George Gently is off on vacation with his new girlfriend Brenda, his sister Bridget and her husband Geoffrey. They are bound for the Scottish Highlands, but once there encounter rather more than just the promised golden eagles and wildcats. There is something rather odd going on nearby and a body proves it; who is the red bearded man who tried to run them off the road and is there really a private army roaming the glens?

I said that the last book Gently With The Ladies was a departure for Hunter, but this is even more so. More than the characters have gone on vacation this time, and despite a lovely description of the long road north I suspect that the author is not on familiar ground when he heads off to the Highlands for this book. For this is the fantasy Highlands of many books, the heather trod by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the like, and reality seems to have checked out at the border. This is a pity, as lyrical descriptions of everyday places like the Norfolk Broads, small dusty towns on the way to nowhere and remote stretches of road are what he does best. Flights of fancy involving lairds with private armies might suit writers like John Buchan and Dornford Yates but in Hunter’s hands it does not quite work. Add in a murder that is easier to solve than usual and you have an experiment that was bravely attempted but failed to please in the same way his other books have. At least, this is my opinion; in a series this strong the author is surely pardoned the odd try-out in a different style and it might just prove to be your favorite.

Other reviews in this series

Gently Does It - Book I
Gently by the ShoreBook II
Gently Down The Stream Book III
Landed Gently Book IV
Gently Through the Mill - Book V
Gently In The SunBook VI
Gently With The Painters Book VII
Gently To The Summit Book VIII
Gently Go Man - Book IX
Gently Where The Roads Go – Book X
Gently Floating - Book XI
Gently Sahib - Book XII
Gently With The Ladies - Book XIII
Gently Northwest - Book XV
Gently Continental - Book XVI
Gently With The Innocents - Book XVII

Reviewed 2013