Peter May, in his book the Lewis Man, takes us by the hand for a complete tour of the archipelago of the Outer Hebrides located in the north western part of Scotland: The island of Lewis and its extension Harris, The island of Uist, the island of Eriskay and the island of Barra. Lands of unforgiving weather, poverty ( in days gone by) and wild landscapes.
The story starts with the discovery of a corpse found in peat bog , corpse turned into a sort of mummy with a textile pattern engraved on it. Who is that mummy? Seems as if it has been kept in the peat for a long time or has it? But … what about the Elvis Presley tattoo discovered on its arm?
Our detective Fin McLeod, no longer in the force, will carry on his individual investigation before official men from Endiburgh show up.
Fin, born and bred in Lewis, has returned to his home island after divorcing his wife back in Edinburgh. He is intending to refurbish his parents’ croft house on Lewis Island. Having left the job as a police detective, he is at a crossroads in his life and doesn’t know which direction to turn to.
The dead body found in the bog will reactivate his criminal hunter’s instincts and crafts, with the help of his former colleague he worked with on a previous murder, mind you! Leaving his own future unanswered. You won’t know who murdered the mummy in the bog until you come to the very end of the book! Mastery in suspense, Peter May has 😉
What I liked most in this book is the going back in time on the tracks of an old catholic orphanaged man whose identity has changed so many times. What a life! Being tossed around the Outer Hebrides without any saying or explanation to what was happening to him as an orphan. Tough times for lost children back in the late 1940’s and 1950’s in Scotland. Their life being dictated by a bunch of horrid people from the Church of Scotland. Can you imagine three young kids taking a ferry on their own to be deported from Edinburgh to an island they don’t know anything about ( Eriskay here), not knowing if someone will be collecting them, with an unknown name written on a board they had to put round their necks? 😦 😦
A thriller full of suspense which has much more: History!
Let’s go straight to book III of the trilogy: The Chessmen. More reading pleasure ahead!