Friday, December 11, 2009

Malice in the Highlands by Graham Thomas

At this time of year many of us like to read what other bloggers have called "comfort reads." Some go back to old favorites; I am drawn to books that are set in places I love. That's why I picked up Malice in the Highlands, a mystery set in my beloved Scottish Highlands.

The hero is a New Scotland Yard detective who occasionally retreats to an inn in the highlands for salmon fishing and an ongoing contest with a Scottish detective as to who will catch the largest fish. His wife stays in London, unable to understand that he gets burned out sometimes and that this restores him. No sooner does he arrive for this particular vacation, though, than a body is found in the river. The inn sits at the edge of an estate owned by an American who has an agreement with the innkeeper that guests can fish in the river on the estate. However, the body turns out to be that American.

Detective-Chief Superintendent Erskine Powell has brought along a friend who recently had been despondent hoping to restore his spirits as well. The friend appears to have a wonderful time fishing, while Powell spends his time trying to solve the murder, frustrated that the whole thing seems to have been dumped on him.
There are several suspects, twists and turns of plot, and a surprising end. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and Thomas' descriptions of the area. I could almost feel I was there.

This is an old book, from 1998, but perhaps your library has a copy. If you love Scotland as I do, it's worth the time to look for it.

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