‘The Gathering Murders,’ by Keith Moray

The Gathering Murders

Not bad. That’s my verdict on The Gathering Murders: Dead Men Tell No Tales, by Keith Moray.

West Uist is a fictional island off the west of Scotland. Each year it hosts “The Gathering,” a Gaelic festival and book festival, subsidized by “the Laird,” the owner of a string of cut-rate book shops.

The chief law enforcement officer is Torquil McKinnon, newly promoted to Inspector. He is the nephew of the local priest, Lachlan McKinnon, and his nickname is “Piper.” In fact he has high hopes for winning first prize in this year’s bagpipes competition.

The big star at this year’s book festival is a native daughter, Fiona Cullen, a mystery writer and once upon a time Torquil’s sweetheart. She greets him with the promise of renewed affections, but she also seems determined to cause a lot of trouble. And trouble there is, beginning with the suspicious murder of a noted local poet and bootlegger. The deaths don’t stop there, and Torquil finds he may be over his head investigating this kind of crime spree.

I liked The Gathering Murders. I thought the writing a little unpolished, but the story kept my interest and the characters engaged me. If, like me, you like a Scottish setting, this is a pretty good one, well brought to life.

Cautions for mature material, mostly language and sexual suggestions (though nothing explicit). Christianity comes out pretty well, especially because Father Lachlan is a very sympathetic character.

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