About THE STUDY OF MURDER
Publication Date: September 18, 2013
Five Star Publishing
The Study of Murder pits Scottish sleuth Muirteach MacPhee against a mysterious adversary in the medieval town of Oxford in 1374.At the command of the Lord of the Isles, Muirteach and his wife Mariota accompany Donald, the lord's surly thirteen-year-old son, to Oxford where Donald is to enroll in university. Shortly after their arrival a winsome tavern maid disappears. At his charge's insistence, Muirteach attempts to help Undersheriff Grymbaud with the investigation, as well as keep Donald at his studies and out of the taverns. He has little success with either venture, although the discovery of some bizarre and suggestive drawings on old parchments piques the curiosity of Donald and his peers. Meanwhile, Mariota thirsts to attend medical lectures at the schools, which are closed to women, and seeks a way to gain admittance to them. When an Oxford master is found brutally bludgeoned to death, Grymbaud asks Muirteach to investigate the slaying. The eventual arrest of an aged servant at the college stirs the ever-simmering discord between townsfolk and university students. The unrest culminates in riots and another senseless killing occurs, endangering Mariota. Gleaning clues from a cryptic manuscript and desperate to save his wife, a determined Muirteach tracks a wily killer through a dark and twisted labyrinth of deceit.
Praise for The Study of Murder
"THE STUDY OF MURDER is a worthy addition to Susan McDuffie's 14th century Hebridean mystery series. Muirteach and Mariota may be in an alien world, when they accompany the son of the Lord of the Isles to Oxford, but neither town nor gown can match their clever wits in solving crime. This book is a treat for those of us eager for a fresh era, well-integrated history, and a host of interesting characters." - Priscilla Royal, author of the Prioress Eleanor/Brother Thomas Mysteries.
At the Risk of gushing, let me say that I loved this book!
It is not very often that I make my reviews personal, but this book is one well deserved exception.
Susan McDuffie's amazing attention to detail, coupled with her exemplary story weaving abilities made this read a journey through time.
Her descriptions of settings within the story bring 1300's Oxford to life in a way that makes it almost tangible to readers.
Not to be out shown, the characters in this story are written in such a way that they seem very real and unpretentious. Muirteach and his brilliant wife, Mariota, provide readers with two characters to love from the beginning.
I fell in love with the fact that though the sleuths, (and I use the plural because Muirteach takes every opportunity to include his wife) are more than within their rights to be a bit more vocal about their abilities in the crime solving department, they are anything but.
In fact, one might say that Muirteach is driven into his role due to the meddling of his precocious young charge, Donald.
The means and motives of the cases,(yes, there are a few) are allowed to unfold slowly, much in the way that they would in a cozy mystery. With the stakes for M&M rising as time and their involvement in the cases and lives in town continue.
This is a story that takes its time in pacing. Much like life during the 1300's, this book takes its time in getting where is it going, but the journey is much of the fun.
If you like your mysteries very well written, interspersed with history, and a cozy wit and charm,
Twitter Hashtag: #StudyOfMurderTour
Susan McDuffie has been a fan of historical fiction since childhood. As a child, Susan spent such vast amounts of time reading historical fiction that she wondered if she was mistakenly born in the wrong century. As an adult her discovery that Clorox was not marketed prior to 1922 reconciled her to life in this era. Susan’s first published works were two Regency short stories in Regency Press anthologies.
Susan’s childhood interest in Scotland was fueled by stories of the McDuffie clan’s ancestral lands on Colonsay and their traditional role as “Keeper of the Records” for the Lord of the Isles. On her first visit to Scotland she hitchhiked her way through the Hebrides and the seeds for the medieval Muirteach MacPhee mysteries were planted.
The Muirteach mysteries include A MASS FOR THE DEAD (2006), THE FAERIE HILLS (2011), and THE STUDY OF MURDER (September 2013). The New Mexico Book Awards named THE FAERIE HILLS “Best Historical Novel” of 2011. Currently plotting Muirteach’s next adventure, Susan shares her life with a Native American artist and four unruly cats, and enjoys taking flamenco dance classes in her spare time. She loves to hear from readers and her website is www.SusanMcDuffie.net.