The Gathering MurdersThe Gathering Murders is the first in a series of crime novels set on a fictitious island in the Outer Hebrides. West Uist has only three police officers – recently promoted Inspector Torquil McKinnon, Sergeant Morag Driscoll and Constable Ewan McPhee, aided by two special constables, the Drummond twins.  

The writer evokes a strong sense of place and the isolation of living in this remote part of Scotland. This is particularly apparent in the forensic examination of crime scenes – here they can’t wait for help to come from the mainland so Morag has been trained in basic procedures.

Living in such a small community means the police officers have to be more resourceful and self-reliant, which gives this story a different feel to ones set in towns and cities. The characters are rounded and well-drawn with some great examples of the eccentric, the obnoxious and the downright loathsome.

There is humour to lighten the darkness which reminded me of the Hamish McBeth stories. One small criticism is the liberal use of Gaelic dialogue which interrupts the flow of the narrative as most people can neither pronounce nor understand it.

The plot is complex with lots of twists and red herrings that keep you guessing. I am already looking forward to Deathly Wind, the next one in the series.

Thanks to Sapere Books for the free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.