This coming week sees the publication of Friend & Foe, the fourth book in Shirley McKay's series of mysteries featuring young lawyer Hew Cullan, set in St. Andrews during the reign of James VI. The arrival of that book reminded me that despite having had them on the shelves for ages I've still to read the earlier ones, so at long last I've made a start.
Hue & Cry is the first one, and it begins in St. Andrews - a place I'm very happy to visit either in real life or on the page - in 1579. Hew has returned to Scotland from studying in Paris, to find that his friend, university regent Nicholas Colp, is accused of murdering a boy who was a private pupil of his. Hew investigates what appears to be an open and shut case, and in so doing he uncovers "a dark tale of duplicity and passion amidst a world of religious piety and the chilling austerity of university life."
The book has been described as "not only a gripping mystery that holds the reader to the very last page, but also a marvellous portrait of St. Andrews in the sixteenth century," so I'm greatly looking forward to getting deeper into it, and to seeing the present day town through fresh eyes when next I'm there.
Where's your reading taking you this weekend? The past, the present, the future? Close to home or far away?
On an unrelated note, I was in a charity bookshop today and I happened to find a copy of Told by Eileen, a children's novel written by my great-grandmother's cousin Alice Massie. I didn't buy it as I already have one, but that's the first of Alice's books I've come across 'in the wild', and I was very pleased to find it. I'll continue to look out for her work.