callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

Gill Cunningham Murder Mysteries

These Gil Cunningham books by Pat McIntosh were recommended on Geranium Cat’s Bookshelf so when two turned up in our library I snatched them off the shelf. They are set in medieval Scotland and presented me with a few problems: I don’t know Glasgow, I don’t know much about Scottish history, I tend not to like historical novels.

I started with The Merchant’s Mark, which is the third book in the series. At first I was hopelessly confused by the location and the characters; I do think it would be better to read the books in order. Once the story got going I was away. Gil investigates a grisly murder which leads him on a (sometimes confusing, I have to say it again) chase involving the king, the knights of St John, officials of church and state and other villains. Meanwhile his sister Kate and Alys, his betrothed, stay home and carry out some investigations of their own. I like Kate a lot and particularly enjoyed her chapters.

I’m always annoyed when ‘medieval’ is used as a term of abuse, as if the whole period were just one Horrible History and we do everything better. Could the people who built the cathedrals and wrote the music and poetry which have come down to us be less intelligent than we are? So yay for novels about educated, thoughtful, medieval people. I found there was a little too much explanation (of coopering, for instance) but on the whole enjoyed the domestic details: Cynthia Harnett for grownups. Thinking of Cynthia Harnett made me want to read The Wool-Pack again.

Tags: crime fiction, cynthia harnett, pat mcintosh

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