The Study of Murder by Susan McDuffie
Muirteach MacPhee Mystery Series
ARC, 264 pages
October 9, 2013
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Received for review from author and as part of HFVBT tour
“The Study Of Murder pits Scottish sleuth Muirteach MacPhee against a mysterious adversary in medieval Oxford. Muirteach and his wife Mariota accompany the Lord of the Isles' son, Donald, to Oxford. Shortly after their arrival, a winsome tavern maid disappears. Muirteach attempts to help Undersheriff Grymbaud with the investigation and keep Donald at his studies, while Mariota yearns to attend medical lectures at the schools. When an Oxford master is found bludgeoned to death, Grymbaud asks Muirteach to investigate. The arrest of a servant for the crime stirs up discord between town and university, and Mariota vanishes. Gleaning clues from a cryptic manuscript, a determined Muirteach tracks a wily killer through a twisted labyrinth of deceit.”
I have always been a fan of mysteries, but I haven’t had that great of luck with historical mysteries – I always find them to be way to light and fluffy for my liking. The Study of Murder does an excellent job of providing a great setting of the time, and characters that are interesting, but is rather light on the action.
While this is not the first book to feature Muirteach MacPhee, but the characters are so well introduced into this novel that you don’t really notice that there were other books you have missed. The references made feel like someone alluding to a past life event, rather than something that you need to know to understand what is occurring. Each character had their own personalities and were interesting to get to know.
The one thing that got on my nerves throughout the novel was the lack of exciting action. Muirteach spent 95% of his time walking up one street in town and down another. Even when he arrived at the destination he was seeking, he would spend about two sentences worth of time there before heading back out to walk somewhere again. I became quite frustrating as a reader. The last 40 pages of the book were good and had a lot of walking, but also action. At the conclusion of the novel, I felt like I was wanting more; I’m not sure if this was because it wrapped up too quickly or I was finally getting what I had been waiting for.
Author Susan McDuffie also has written several other books in this series including: The Faerie Hills and A Mass for the Dead. You can visit McDuffie’s website for additional information about the book.
I also have the pleasure of offering one copy of The Study of Murder as a giveaway to one US entrant. Simply enter the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends September 29th. Good luck.
Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court