Death in Transit (Torquil McKinnon #5), 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.

More fun on the Hebrides, where Keith Moray recounts another stunning Scottish police procedural that provides the reader with local lore alongside a decent mystery. West Uist awaits the transit of Mercury, when the planet crosses between the Earth and Sun. The local astrological society has chosen to put on some lectures about the phenomenon, as well as broadcasts by one of Scottish TV’s best-known programmes on heavenly events. Torquil McKinnon is ready with his handful of police staff for the obvious influx of tourists around town, though everything seems to be going well at present. When a murder shocks the community, it becomes exponentially more concerning with the sketch of the Aquarius symbol next to the body. The West Uist Chronicle runs a story about the emergence of a zodiac killer, which turns concern to all-out panic and forces Torquil to rush before things get out of hand. Another body appears soon thereafter, with another sign of the zodiac and everyone is sure that there is a killer on the loose, targeting those who have ties to the numerous astrological symbols known to all. Questions arise related to the planetary goings-on and whether the killer is trying to pass along a message to West Uist as a whole. However, Torquil McKinnon will not rest until the killer is caught, even if the clues seem obscure and no one is forthcoming with concrete leads. Moray provides readers another wonderful tale, sure to keep them enthralled until the final reveal. Those who have enjoyed this series will surely find solace in this latest instalment, as well as any reader who enjoys a mystery with a true Scottish flavour.

The publisher sought my opinions on early novels in the series, and I remain hooked through to this fifth piece. This novel took me back into the rural Scottish community Moray developed with such detail throughout the literary journey. Torquil McKinnon is a character that many readers can enjoy, though he 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. While he is tough on crime, he holds out a soft heart for the woman he loves and his new trusty companion. The handful of secondary characters is always changing and entertains the reader throughout. Social and personal issues weave their way into each character, providing the reader with something interesting to explore besides the central crime. There is much humour and banter for the reader to enjoy, as the characters find their niche within the dozen or so chapters of the story. The story itself is quite well crafted, keeping the narrative flowing well, with unique scenarios that foster murders and vendettas to be developed. Moray is back to his mid-length chapters, which push the reader onward in this quick adventure. The narrative flows well and keeps the reader hooked throughout, making the story an easy single-day read (as it was for me). 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 more and was told that Moray is hard at work on additional novels. Alas, I now have to be patient until I can devour the next Torquil McKinnon novel.

Kudos, Mr. Moray, for this refreshing read. Perfect for my holiday time, as the story does not let up until the final page. I hope you’ll dazzle your fans in the very near future.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: