Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: A Viv Fraser Mystery 6
Publication Date: 12/19/19
Number of Pages: 190
*** 3.5 Stars Rounded Up ***
This was my second book in the series. The only other one I’ve read was the first one, Beyond Cutting, and our intrepid detective, Vivian (Viv) Fraser, seems to have changed a good bit over the four books I missed. You can easily read this as a stand-alone, but it might be good to read the other books to see Viv’s progress in her life. This book begins with Viv returning home to Scotland only to learn that her lover has died in the US. The two ladies had parted on strained terms and Viv feels guilty that she didn’t do more, try harder, etc. Viv is also surprised to learn that Sal has left her an inheritance – one she isn’t sure she wants. Strangely enough, in that first book Viv was recovering from the death of her lover, Dawn, who has left her an inheritance. That book was written in third person/present tense and it was hard to read, so I’m glad the author has changed that in this book. Another change is that Viv has gone from hairdresser/journalist/Dr. of Anthropology to Dr. Viv Fraser, dark web hacker, and hairdresser.
Upon her return to Scotland, her friend Mac – DCI Marcus Marconi – has found a case for her. It will keep her busy while she works through her grief. The lover, David FitzRoy, of the local earl, Sholto Percy, has disappeared and the earl wants him found. Sholto’s lifestyle isn’t public and he’s engaged to a local woman, Pamela. Did David disappear on his own or did he have help?
Viv and Mac begin digging into the lives of Sholto and David and come across some links to the Knights of Malta organization. That organization is a philanthropic one geared toward raising money for the Catholic church. What connection can they have to murder? Then, a Catholic Cardinal (or is he?) is found dead – and he has the same symbol. How is that symbol related to their case?
When David’s body is found, Sholto goes into deep grieving and won’t speak to anyone – well – anyone except Viv. Her questioning and searching through the estate archives as well as the dark web turns up a number of clues.
You’ll have to read the book to see what the Knights of Malta and all of the rest have to do with the murders.
Now, bottom line, I enjoyed the mystery and the investigation. I liked the characters – but I did have a hard time reading the story. No, it wasn’t because of the gay and lesbian characters – it was the vernacular. There were so many turns of phrase I just didn’t understand – and several weren’t in the dictionary on my kindle. I’m sure they are unique to Scotland. I’m sure I’ll get accustomed to them over time, but for the moment, it was hard for me to read. Things like ‘des res’, ‘mis-pers’ (missing person I assume), ‘defo’ (definitely??), ’journos’ (journalists??), ‘Aga’ (I think it must be a stove brand). I am quite sure it is no different than someone from another country reading a book by an American author, so we’ll just have to learn to accommodate each other.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.