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THE SECRET PORTRAIT by Lillian Stewart Carl

THE SECRET PORTRAIT

By Lillian Stewart Carl

Pub Date: April 15th, 2005
ISBN: 1-59414-307-2
Publisher: Five Star

A Louis d’Or coin whose owner wants it authenticated pitches American historian Jean Fairbairn, a partner in the magazine Great Scot, into mystery and mayhem in the Western Highlands.

The client, George Lovelace, is involved in research for the wealthy American Rick MacLyon, who’s purchased and restored Glendessary House from the son of Archie MacSorley, Lovelace’s WWII training partner. When Jean arrives to interview MacLyon, she discovers Lovelace garroted and hanging from a hook in the game larder. The enigmatic D.C.I. Alasdair Cameron and Jean slowly develop a relationship that allows the Chief Inspector to benefit from the fruits of her research into what’s really going on at Glendessary. Rick’s attractive young wife, Vanessa, seems to have her feet firmly planted, but she and her husband are involved in a Jacobite secret society. The plot thickens when the MacLyon chef dies in a suspicious car accident caused by supercilious Charlotte MacSorley. Her snobbish husband Kiernan and their dishy, musically talented son Neil have motives but apparently solid alibis. Dogged detective work reveals the killer, but only the ghost of Archie MacSorley prevents Jean from becoming another victim.

Mystery, history and sexual tension blend with a taste of the wild beauty of the Highlands: an enjoyable tale, if a wee bit too long.