Donning his academic robes and riding off to attend the Nicholas Feast at Glasgow University, Gil Cunningham little suspects his journey will end in murder.
Gil’s greeted at the gate by rude, arrogant young William Irvine, a bastard of the powerful Montgomery clan. After the feast and play, William is found strangled in the coalhouse. Because of Gil’s former involvement in crime (The Harper’s Quine, 2004), the college asks him to discover the truth. William’s wrothful relative Lord Montgomery gives him two days before he brings out the thumbscrews. It doesn’t take even that long to discover that William collected scraps of gossip and was not above blackmailing people. Hated and feared by almost everyone, he leaves no dearth of suspects. Someone presumably desperate for information has searched his room and cracked the head of his wolfhound puppy. Recently betrothed to French mason Maistre Pierre’s lovely and intelligent daughter Alys, Gil turns to her for help in deciphering the coded shorthand information William kept in a red book. Diligent questioning has produced alibis for most of the field when the wolfhound puppy Gil’s taken in leads him to a clue that solves the mystery of William’s birth—a significant piece of the puzzle behind the crimes.
A satisfying story, studded with tidbits of medieval custom, hearty as a raisin scone.