When a body is found mummified in a peat bog on the island of Lewis, Tormod MacDonald is prime suspect. DNA results show that deceased was related to Tormod. Tormod is in no position to defend himself due to his advanced dementia. Fin Macleod is mixed up in the case, as Tormod is father of his childhood sweetheart Marsaili.
This sequel is as good as its predecessor, in some aspects even better. After the affairs of The Black House, Fin Macleod is back on the island of his birth, having chucked his job and marriage, trying to rebuild his parents’ old ruined house. He is back with Marsaili and tries to help her to clear Tormod’s name. Tormod is prime suspect but is in no position to understand anything that is happening around him. His rambling is incomprehensible at the best of times. As Fin delves into Tormod’s past, who is an orphan with no living relatives, Fin realises that Tormod’s identity is an assumed one. Having no clue about Tormod’s past or his real name, Fin’s job becomes more and more difficult.
Peter May has used split storyline technique, once again to brilliant effect. Tormod’s past is told in first person where we learn about the orphaned brothers and their difficult childhood, shunted from orphanage to church to these remote islands. Tormod also tells us the events that inevitably lead to present day discovery of the body. The investigation is narrated in third person where Fin tries to use every possible clue to gain knowledge of Tormod’s past.
Once again Peter May scores on all the counts – plot, characters and language. As Fin races throughout the Heridean islands, we get accustomed with these harsh islands with their raw beauty. The description of various islands is so lucid that I could almost see Fin rushing through them. The islands play an important part in the story and building up of all characters. You can read more about them here. Tormod’s illness is handled with sensitivity and stands in stark contrast with his clear memory of the past.
The mystery is easy to figure out but that does not spoil the book. The series is a real treat for book lovers, so once again highly recommended.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
My other reviews of The Lewis Trilogy –
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