Murder mystery, female detective, attractive man in scene, local folklore – spicy mix for a great winter read! The third in the Rose McQuinn series, I haven’t read the first two but the background was easily picked up. Rose comes to the village of her childhood to visit her sister Emily all the way from Edinburgh, thinking that it would be a restful break from her hectic city life. She looks forward to her rest with her sister, brother-in-law, and her grandmother who lives with them.
She is proved wrong. The calm pleasure of Rose’s holiday is shattered when a body is discovered during an archaeological dig. Far from being that of a 13th century princess, as the archaeologists had hoped, it becomes clear it’s of a local woman, long presumed drowned but in fact brutally murdered.
As the plot uncovers more and more, Rose fears for the innocence of those closest to her, but is there the innocence to fear for? Added to the mystery is a great grandmother who she has never heard of, that lives in a small croft, that is more than a 100 years old and was rescued by the sea. Her premonitions are always true, her potions are potent, and she hunches when she walks, dragging her feet behind her into the mist, much like a…
Lovely style of writing, great imagery of the islands, perfect read!
“Orkney may lack trees or mountains and display little of the grandeur of the Scottish highlands or the tamed splendours of shady glens in suburban Edinburgh but there is adequate compensation in wild beauty and an atmosphere which is unique. infinite space, the great sweeping confluence of sky, sea and rolling landscape, undulating hills in a sea-bitten, wind-torn pastiche of greens, greys and peat browns, interrupted here and there by a patchwork of scattered crofts, few out of sight or sound of the sea.“
From 3% (Allison & Busby 2003) of An Orkney Murder (Rose McQuinn #3).
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I picked up this book because it was the only one I found that was by George Mackay Brown. I wanted to read something by him because he’s called The Bard of Orkney and I wanted to read something that was set in the islands and so I got this book and the South Uist one. Anyway, I read this first. It is about the tight-knit community on the Orcadian island of Hellya, where residents are trying to come to terms with the destruction weilded by Operation Black Star, a military project that needs the island for some unknown purpose.
Now, while as a story it is well-written, with a nice poetic prose language. The narrative spans a week in the life of the islanders – everyone from school going children to boatmen. Most of the book is about the day to day lives of these people, what they do, what they think, how they talk etc. However, I was not very intensely moved by the book. I kept getting mixed up with all the characters, I thought there were too many of them.
I was able to keep reading because every now and then, I’d come to a sub-plot, about dark secrets or growing up, and I’d be engrossed for the next 30 pages or so. But then I’d be left confused for another while until the next good sub-plot came along. So while it had lovely language, it did not have enough cohesiveness in the plot for me. And so, it was probably a bad book by the author to have picked up as a first read.
Have any of you read anything else by him? Any recommendations?
A long time has passed since I was left reeling in the feeling of a book long after it was over. I wish I hadn’t read it so that I could read it for the first time again… know what I mean? Read Orkney, if you get your hands/your Kindle-paws on it.
Anyway, some stuff I came across on social media…