Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Fairie Hills-Susan McDuffie

The Fairie Hills
Susan McDuffie
Five Star, May 6 2011, $25.95
ISBN 9781594149610

In 1373 on Colonsay, eight years old Niall vanishes without a trace while searching for the mythical fairy gold. Colonsay Laird Gillespic leads a desperate search for the lad he fostered, who is the grandson of the Lord of the Isles. Desperate, Gillespic sends for his nephew Muirteach MacPhee, who solved A MASS FOR THE DEAD case to investigate.

Muirteach leaves for Colonsay immediately. He interrogates the villagers who mostly believe the Fairie took Niall. His inquiry leads to the finding of an infant’s bones in a cave, but is no closer to learning what happened to the child as he fears each passing day makes it more likely the lad has been murdered. He sends for Mariota Beaton who helped him with A MASS FOR THE DEAD inquiry.

This is a terrific late fourteenth century Hebrides amateur sleuth mystery with a touch of romance in the windswept damp air. The key to the investigation is that most of the islanders believe in their heart that the Fairie abducted the child, which in turn anchors time and place. The few who think otherwise are mostly reticent when interrogated by the hero. Medieval mystery fans will want more collaborative whodunits between the M&M sleuths.

Harriet Klausner

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