The Rough Collier
Soho, May 2008, $24.95
In 1493 in the peat bogs of Belstane Parish in Central Lanarkshire, a corpse has been uncovered. No one knows how long the body laid in the ooze, but many assume murder because of the severe injury to the skull and slash across the throat.
The Beltane Parish chaplain to Sir James, David Fleming accuses the local herbalist and healer "Beattie" Lithgo of committing the crime; his evidence is based on his belief she practices witchcraft and the body is that of a missing person Thomas Murray. The Archbishop of nearby Glasgow sends his Quaestor Gil Cunningham to investigate. Gil is accompanied by his new wife Alys; they quickly conclude the victim was killed quite a long time ago and is not Thomas. As the case spins into a matriarchal family while more corpses are found, the constable and his spouse feel they are stuck in the bog.
Although extremely well written and exciting, this medieval police procedural takes serious time and place so is filled with Scottish colloquiums that can make it a bit difficult to follow dialogue. Once the reader adjusts to the discussions, fans will find a terrific whodunit as the married detectives struggle with prejudice and fear inside of a strong fifteenth century mystery