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Hue and Cry: A Hew Cullan Mystery (Hew Cullan Mystery 1) Paperback – 1 May 2011

86 customer reviews

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Hue and Cry: A Hew Cullan Mystery (Hew Cullan Mystery 1) + Fate & Fortune (Hew Cullan 2) (Hew Cullen Mystery) + Time & Tide: A Hew Cullan Mystery (Hew Cullan Mystery 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (1 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846971527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971525
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shirley McKay was born in the North East of England, but moved to Scotland at the age of eight. Now lives on the east coast of Fife, in the picturesque village of Crail. Studied at St Andrews University, which provides the backdrop and the setting for her Hew Cullan stories, murder mysteries based in Scotland at the time of James VI. To find out more about the author and the books, please visit www.shirleymckay.co.uk

Product Description

Review

'A gripping mystery that holds the reader to the very last page, and a marvellous portrait of St Andrews in the 16th century' --John Burnside

About the Author

Shirley McKay was born in Tynemouth but now lives with her family in Fife. At the age of fifteen she won the Young Observer playwriting competition, her play being performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs. She went on to study English and Linguistics at the University of St Andrews before attending Durham University for postgraduate study in Romantic and seventeenth century prose. She was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. Shirley works as a freelance proofreader.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By jakczek on 28 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I downloaded this book for only 86p. I am always sceptical of anything that is cheaper that the usual price. I must admit that I was really surprised and I found it hard to put down. The characters are very alive, except the ones that have been murdered. There is a good intertwining plot, which keeps one guessing for most of the book. I know the location well and found that I was literally walking about St. Andrews with the characters. I am now looking forward to reading the next one.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sarah A. Brown VINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
I normally prefer detective stories set in the present day but I hugely enjoyed this absorbing and subtle thriller set in 16th century Scotland, during the early years of King James VI's reign. The (comparative) unfamiliarity of the setting adds to the book's appeal as we learn about a society ostensibly ruled by the stern and unyielding Kirk yet which is full of people troubled by hidden passions - and sleazy secrets. Although the novel is clearly very well researched the reader is never bombarded with superfluous period detail - just a wonderfully convincing sense of the texture of everyday life.

Hew Cullan, the novel's young amateur detective hero, has just returned from France to his native St Andrews and is horrified when an old friend appears to be implicated in the murder of a boy apprentice. Of course nothing is quite as it seems - and the death toll soon begins to mount. Hew is a nicely restrained hero - tolerant, good humoured and diplomatic. The mystery is very well done - full of sensational (but believable) twists and turns - and it is rounded off with a thoroughly satisfying and well earned denouement.

I read Hue and Cry very quickly and was pleased that the novel seems to be planned as the first of a series - I definitely want to find out what Hew Cullan does next ...
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Chatterforth on 17 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
After 6 years of studying Law in Paris, Hew Cullan returns to his home in St Andrews, Scotland and becomes embroiled in investigating the events surrounding the death of a thirteen year old boy. This is truly an absorbing murder mystery set in 16th century Scotland, encapsulating the period perfectly with good research and the right level of social commentary. There is just the right level of complexity in the plot to underline and retain the reader's intrigue up to the last page.

The Spire Chronicle
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dai on 13 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a book that gripped me from beginning to end. If you like historical mystery stories, this is for you. I couldn't put my Kindle down and as soon as I finished, wanted to read more 'Hew Cullen' stories. The other thing it did - it made me curious about the history of the time the book was set in.

Dai
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on 3 Nov. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I had never read anything connected with a Scottish university in the 16th century before - it sounds dry but was far from it. Hew Cullan is likeable and his sister and friends are too. The twists in the plot kept me reading, and the constant fear that some poor woman was to be sacrificed as a witch niggled at me throughout. Technically the book explains early methods of dying and the cloth trade - intriguing. And who would want to be an undergraduate in the 16th century after reading this story? Well, you might if you had enough money to light a fire for warmth!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Enid Blyton on 4 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
I have worked in St Andrews for many years which is why I bought this book in the first place. Normally, I am not one for historical novels. I really enjoyed the story, and imagining St Andrews in the 16th Century was a thought provoking journey. I even looked for the tavern at the harbour today! The characters were were well developed and the various plots unfolded slowly throughout which kept me turning the pages. Although based in the 16th Century, it was a novel which was easy to read - almost modern apart from the time period. I recommend it very highly!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alison10 on 13 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never read this author before so was not sure what to expect. It is set in St. Andrew's, Fife, in the late 16th century. The descriptions are detailed and much research into this period must have been done, including University practice and the legal system. I found at first I was taking a while getting into the story, possibly as there were several characters being introduced and because the era and its customs were unfamiliar.

However, once I had got into the book, and got to like the main character, Hew Cullan, I found it compelling reading. I would definitely recommend the book to those who like historical novels, whether crime or not, as the period (with all its warts!) is clearly evoked.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazonian on 29 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Despite a decent plot (involving murder, witchcraft, "unnatural" lusts and adultery), a novel (no pun intended) setting and likeable central characters, I had a real struggle finishing this book.

Firstly, presumably for the sake of providing a sense of authenticity, the author has the characters speaking in a kind of Shakespearean style language, the more so as the book progressed (or perhaps I only noticed it the further into the book I got). For me, this is completely unnecessary (we know when the story is set and a feel of authenticity is given by frequent reference to the lifestyles and worldviews of the characters in the story) and simply makes the book difficult to read.

Secondly, and most noticeably (and presumably as part of the search for authenticity), the author uses a lot of archaic Scottish words many of which are not in the Kindle dictionary, so you have to guess their meaning from the context. This makes the book even more difficult to read.

Lastly, apart from the specific criticisms raised above, I found the author's style heavy-handed. At times it felt to me like she thought she was writing great literature, using quite poetical language or imagery to describe settings or scenes, which actually made it quite difficult to picture what she was actually trying to describe.

An author's style is very much a matter of personal taste, but I struggled with this book despite it having a good storyline and despite the fact that I read quite a bit of historical crime fiction. I was torn between two stars (style) and three stars (content) but in the end content won over style.
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