Jun 8 2012 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Friday
Book group members and library staff are looking at some of the latest titles by authors set to appear at Stirling Libraries’ Off the Page Book Festival in September. This month its Customer Services Librarian Elizabeth Farr on crime writer Peter May’s new novel.
The Lewis Man, by Peter May
THIS is the second part of the Lewis trilogy featuring Fin McLeod, a former Edinburgh policeman who has returned to his childhood home after his divorce.
As Fin arrives, a body has been found in the peat and initially is believed to be more than 2000 years old - until a tattoo of Elvis Presley is discovered on his arm.
DNA tests link the body to Marsaili Macdonald, Fin's childhood sweetheart, but her father has always denied that he had a family.
Although no longer a policeman, Fin soon becomes involved in the hunt for the story behind the body.
Tormad has dementia and is living in the past, so is not able to be questioned, but his background emerges as he relives his childhood memories and a bleak story about life in an Edinburgh orphanage in the 1950s is told.
Personal stories weave their way through the tale as Marsaili and Fin renew their friendship, Marsaili's son and his girlfriend try to convince her father that they can bring up their child and where two men who were once friends fight, then share a bottle of malt as a start to reviving their friendship.
The action moves from the present day to the past, from North Uist to Edinburgh to Harris, with strands intertwining as the story evolves before the denouement brings the story back to life in the Edinburgh orphanage.
The rugged beauty of Uist and Harris provide a fitting backdrop to this fast-moving story.
Not only was this book a really good thriller, it also shed light on the trials of living with dementia and the effects on both the sufferer and their family.
It exposes the harsh treatment of orphans in 1950s Scotland and the way they would be moved to any part of Scotland to be used, or abused, almost as slaves in many cases.
The third part of the trilogy, The Chess Men, is eagerly awaited - as is Peter May's appearance at Off the Page in September.