Monday, October 22, 2012

St Mungo's Robin by Pat McIntosh

This is the fourth in a series set in Medieval Glasgow and features a young lawyer called Gil Cunningham.  Gil is beginning to get a name for himself as an investigator of murders and he works with his soon to be father-in-law Pierre Mason. Normally his fiancee Alys helps too but on this occasion she is busy preparing for their forthcoming wedding.

The warden of an almshouse is found dead in the almshouse garden, having been stabbed. Gil is asked to solve the murder which is nowhere near as simple as it first appears.  Was the man killed by one of the elderly residents or was it something connected to his life outside the home?

What I like about these books, apart from the characters of Gil, Pierre and Alys who are great, is that it gives you a very authentic sounding picture of Medieval Scotland. The laws of property and inheritance in Scotland at that time were very different from those in England and this casts a whole different slant onto the books. I find the historical detail fascinating and extremely interesting. The position of women in this world is a precarious one as is evidenced by some of the plot twists. Choices for women were extremely limited in what was a very rigid society. McIntosh is not overtly judgmental about this state, but highlights the plight of women subtly as part of the story.

I've read all of the previous three books and I must say that as the series progresses and the characters change and grow I am liking it more and more. She's easily up there with more well known Medieval authors like Ariana Franklin, Michael Jecks or Susanna Gregory.  One criticism, and this is a small one. I'd like a map of Glasgow at the time.  I've read all these in paperback, maybe there's a map in the hardback editions, but not in the paperbacks. I'm familiar with bits of Glasgow, know some of the places mentioned but can't quite reconcile my modern Glasgow with the old city that exists in these pages.  Anyway I happen to be a big fan of maps and I'd like one here.  I know I could go and find one on the web, but I don't, and anyway I'm not always reading where I have access to the internet. 

The series as a whole is now up to nine books, so I really should try and catch up!

St Mungo's Robin by Pat McIntosh is published by Robinson and is available in paperback from all good bookstores and as an e-book. I read the paperback edition.

I bought this book with my own hard-earned cash.

No comments: