This is a well-crafted and atmospheric mystery novel. I was impressed with the plot and the characterisation. The setting is also very appealing. However, I found the book over-long (too much uninteresting dialogue). The author has a habit of tacking on extra bits to her sentences, which would have been more effective as smaller sentences. Mostly I enjoyed the novel but I wasn’t left with a wish to read more of her work.
The setting is an isolated part of Scotland over three time periods – Viking, Victorian and now. The majority of the story takes place in the present day, with the other times woven in. Libby Snow, an archaeologist, is visiting a possible burial mound on the Sturrock estate, in preparation for a dig later that year. She has a personal connection to the area, involving her grandmother and a lost artefact, although she’s not going to tell anyone yet. Various mysteries unfold, right until the end of the novel. I can’t really explain more without giving the plot away.
If you have an interest in archaeology and are a fan of slower-paced mystery stories which have a hint of romantic tension, this book is for you. I did get impatient with it sometimes. I didn’t like the main character, Libby. She was always wondering about the family set-up of the Sturrocks (the estate owners) and listening to their mundane conversation. Unfortunately, she was a dull protagonist.
First published in 2018.