Although the Scottish hero and his apothecary sidekick in Dillon’s series debut are a mite anachronistic in their pursuit of...


A deputy sheriff balances patriotic loyalty against sworn duty in late-13th-century Scotland.

After he lost his wife and child in a fire, Kyle Shaw hired out his battle-ax to King Philip of France. When he returns to his home in Ayrshire, Scotland, he agrees to resume his former post of deputy to the ailing sheriff Reginald de Crawford, even though the office has diminished over the years. The Scottish king is the prisoner of Edward Longshanks, King of England, whose soldiers have occupied Scotland and assumed increasing power, especially Sir Henry de Percy, the Castellan of Ayr. Although Kyle is able to fend off a band of English raiders stealing sheep from a small holding, he’s hard-pressed to demand justice for the victim, who claims that what the English, or Southrons, can’t confiscate legally, they simply seize. When Megan Brodie, a girl of 16, is raped and murdered, Kyle asks an apothecary friend to examine the girl’s body and learns she was pregnant. Megan’s father insists that Lucky Jack Sweeney, captain of horse at Ayr Garrison, is the murderer, and Kyle suspects the Englishman is also the father of Megan’s child. But the deputy must proceed cautiously and prevent the aggrieved father from avenging his daughter’s defiling and death. Good Scotsman though he is, Kyle is bound to keep civil order and follow English law, much as he doubts that Sir Henry will take action against his own countryman. Kyle is also charged with protecting a royal envoy to Philip at the same time painful rumors about his father’s death five years ago add to his grief, which a hint of romance to come could ease. 

Although the Scottish hero and his apothecary sidekick in Dillon’s series debut are a mite anachronistic in their pursuit of forensic science, Kyle is an attractive hero trying to do right by both Southrons and Scots.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4328-2878-3

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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This ran in the S.E.P. and resulted in more demands for the story in book form than ever recorded. Well, here it is and it is a honey. Imagine ten people, not knowing each other, not knowing why they were invited on a certain island house-party, not knowing their hosts. Then imagine them dead, one by one, until none remained alive, nor any clue to the murderer. Grand suspense, a unique trick, expertly handled.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 1939

ISBN: 0062073478

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1939

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The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.


In Archie Goodwin's 15th adventure since the death of his creator, Rex Stout, his gossipy Aunt Edna Wainwright lures him from 34th Street to his carefully unnamed hometown in Ohio to investigate the death of a well-hated bank president.

Tom Blankenship, the local police chief, thinks there’s no case since Logan Mulgrew shot himself. But Archie’s mother, Marjorie Goodwin, and Aunt Edna know lots of people with reason to have killed him. Mulgrew drove rival banker Charles Purcell out of business, forcing Purcell to get work as an auto mechanic, and foreclosed on dairy farmer Harold Mapes’ spread. Lester Newman is convinced that Mulgrew murdered his ailing wife, Lester’s sister, so that he could romance her nurse, Carrie Yeager. And Donna Newman, Lester’s granddaughter, might have had an eye on her great-uncle’s substantial estate. Nor is Archie limited to mulling over his relatives’ gossip, for Trumpet reporter Verna Kay Padgett, whose apartment window was shot out the night her column raised questions about the alleged suicide, is perfectly willing to publish a floridly actionable summary of the leading suspects that delights her editor, shocks Archie, and infuriates everyone else. The one person missing is Archie’s boss, Nero Wolfe (Death of an Art Collector, 2019, etc.), and fans will breathe a sigh of relief when he appears at Marjorie’s door, debriefs Archie, notices a telltale clue, prepares dinner for everyone, sleeps on his discovery, and arranges a meeting of all parties in Marjorie’s living room in which he names the killer.

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5040-5988-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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