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Knowledge of Sins Past (Murray of Letho Book 2) Kindle Edition
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In many ways, Knowledge of Sins Past is quite different to most murder mystery novels. The first half of the book is concerned with the setting of the scene, there is plenty going on and a number of mysteries start to emerge. In all honesty, I'd almost forgotten that this was a murder mystery, by the time that I reached that element of the story. Although it's much slower moving than some other books in the genre, the depth of the characters and the storylines, mean that it doesn't really matter. The historical setting is so finely painted, that you feel as if you are actually there.
Murray himself is very likeable. A young man, trying to find his place in life, having upset his father. He now exists in that twilight zone somewhere between the servants and the family, not really fitting into either. Having read the latest book, I do have some idea of where his life is going, but I'm looking forward to reading about it in future books.
I really enjoyed this book and I'll be reading the third in the series soon. I'd really recommend the Murray of Letho books.
Murder mystery is not normally my cup of tea but I was prompted to read this by my wife.
After reading the first 2 chapters I was sucked in and totally unable to put the book down.
The dialog and characterisation is amongst the best I have ever read and I swear that each of the characters developed their own unique voices.
The real joy in reading this was the lovingly assembled setting. Great care is taken in crafting a large cast of individuals with their own backgrounds and motivation. The multiple mysteries which follow on as the book progresses seem to follow on naturally from the backgrounds of the cast.
The period setting of early 19th century Scotland was fabulous and particularly charming. I particularly liked the details of day to day life woven into the story. Both fun and educational. The author really knows her topic.
Looking forward to reading the next book when it becomes available.
Quick Summary -
Murray of Letho has taken a position as Secretary to the Scoggies and tutor to their two sons.
Lord Scoggie rules over a small parish split between hill farmer folk and fisher folk.
Farmers and Fishers mix like oil and water.
Into this volatile and superstitious mix comes Major Keyes - crippled hero of the Seringapatam campaign against Tipu Sultan and possible suitor for the hand of the Scoggie daughter.
In this small parish everyone has a history and all it takes is the slightest provocation for the whole facade of normality and decency to become unwoven.
Set in early 19th century Scotland, Charles Murray has now graduated from St Andrews and is working as secretary to Lord Scoggie and tutor to his sons. Conyngham is very good at scene setting, equally convincing when dealing with the aristocracy at the castle or the fishermen in the village. Her characterisation is particularly good and she handles a large cast well, giving each a distinctive personality and voice. Murray's position as secretary allows him to be as much at home with the servants as with the family, and his role as tutor to the two young boys gives Conyngham scope to introduce some humour into the story. The plot is well worked out and as with all good murder mysteries, the denouement is dramatic.
Because we see Murray developing as the books progress, I would suggest that anyone new to the series should read them in order, although this could certainly also be read as a stand alone. Highly recommended - I'm already looking forward to reading the next one.
As with the first book the first murder did not happen until 50% through the story so be aware of this if you choose to read it yourself and like a book to be paced faster. For me it is like reading 2 books in 1, you have the gentle paced period style of the first half and the quick 'whodunit' second half.
I loved the Scoggie family, especially the 2 boys and I hope that the family appears in some of the later books. There were moments throughout the first half of the book where I thought I had picked out the first victim but each time I was proven wrong.
It's a brilliant story and well written, although I did come across a few spelling mistakes however, my version is quite old so it has probably been updated since I bought it.
Off to start the 3rd in the series Service of the Heir (Murray of Letho #3)
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