Just to follow on from last Saturday's post, I loved Hue & Cry, the first of Shirley McKay's Hew Cullan mysteries set in 16th. century St. Andrews. It's the perfect mixture of Town and Gown - St. Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking word - so as we walk among the colleges which sit by the ruined cathedral, above the harbour, and with their feet in the stoor o' the burgh, as it were, so we learn about life for the students and their tutors, and the merchants and tradesmen they live among.
There's a compelling mix of domestic and social detail, legal matters and all things medicinal, not to mention the mores and philosophical thinking of the time, and within this context is the ingeniously plotted murder mystery in which our sympathetic young lawyer hero Hew plays detective and advocate. The author's extensive knowledge of the period and gift for language colour the book beautifully, and in the central character we're given a man of intellect and compassion whose personal story alone should be worth following. I'm greatly looking forward to reading the other books in the series.