Flotsam and Jetsam (Torquil McKinnon #4), by Keith Moray

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Keith Moray and Sapere Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Keith Moray returns to the Hebrides, where he recounts another Scottish police procedural/mystery full of local flavouring and helping to renew the reader’s love of Torquil McKinnon. West Uist is abuzz with the news that a Scottish antiques show has come to the island to broadcast a fortnight of programmes. Flotsam and Jetsam will launch with a local legend, Dr. Digby Dent, in hopes of shedding light on the man’s expertise in midges. When he doses himself with ‘liquid courage’ before appearing on television, things go awry and he is forced to spend some time in police custody. Upon his release, Dent attempts to make his way home, only to be found dead the following morning by one of the West Uist constables. Meanwhile, Torquil comes across a wee dog, strapped to a board while he is out piping one morning, sure that this was an attempt to rid the owner of the burden of responsibility. Incensed, Torquil will stop at nothing to find out who might have committed such a horrible act, though he is also busy with this investigation into Dr. Dent, which soon turns into an act of murder. Who might have struck down this local legend and are there others who are in danger? West Uist Police are on high alert and Torquil cannot rest until both his cases are resolved, which will be a feat unto itself, especially with his superiors barking orders. Moray brings readers another wonderful tale, sure to keep the reader enthralled until the final page-turn. Those who have enjoyed this series will surely enjoy this instalment, as well as any reader who enjoys a mystery with a true Scottish flavour.

When the publisher approached me to read and review early novels in the series, I was hooked. This novel was more of the same, taking me back into the rural Scottish community Moray developed. Torquil McKinnon is a character that many readers can enjoy, though has not become too one-dimensional so as to become boring. Torquil mixes a dedication to his job as leader of the constabulary with a strong connection to the locals, many of whom cross his path throughout this piece. Showing his softer side, Torquil exemplifies his connection to his canine friend and longing to be reunited with his bonnie lass. The handful of new, secondary characters proves to entertain the reader throughout this story, which presents the reader with some interesting social issues, both educational and entertaining. The various characters add humour and banter for the reader, but there is also a sinister aspect that helps propel the mystery perspective throughout. The story itself is quite well crafted, keeping the narrative flowing well, a bounce back from a less than stellar third novel. Longer chapters should not deter the reader, as the narrative flows well and keeps the reader hooked throughout. While some may be familiar with ‘big city’ and tangential police procedurals, the reader can enjoy this close-knit story that fills the pages with Scottish lore! I’ll gladly read the rest of this series, if only to learn more about McKinnon and the West Uist community.

Kudos, Mr. Moray, for this refreshing read. Perfect for my holiday time, as the story does not let up until the final page.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons