The Study of Murder pits Scottish sleuth Muirteach MacPhee against a mysterious adversary in the medieval town of Oxford in 1374. At the command of the Lord of the Isles, Muirteach and his wife Mariota accompany Donald, the lord’s surly thirteen-year-old son, to Oxford where Donald is to enroll in university. Shortly after their arrival a winsome tavern maid disappears. At his charge’s insistence, Muirteach attempts to help Undersheriff Grymbaud with the investigation, as well as keep Donald at his studies and out of the taverns. He has little success with either venture, although the discovery of some bizarre and suggestive drawings on old parchments piques the curiosity of Donald and his peers. Meanwhile, Mariota thirsts to attend medical lectures at the schools, which are closed to women, and seeks a way to gain admittance to them. When an Oxford master is found brutally bludgeoned to death, Grymbaud asks Muirteach to investigate the slaying. The eventual arrest of an aged servant at the college stirs the ever-simmering discord between townsfolk and university students. The unrest culminates in riots and another senseless killing occurs, endangering Mariota. Gleaning clues from a cryptic manuscript and desperate to save his wife, a determined Muirteach tracks a wily killer through a dark and twisted labyrinth of deceit.
The Study of Murder is a finalist in the
2014 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards!
Praise for THE STUDY OF MURDER:
“You must read this book, a superb mystery.” —Reading the Ages 9/19/13
“Susan McDuffie brings the city and this period to life in such a way that the reader is transported… The perfect blend of history and a mysterious investigation.” —The Most Happy Reader 9/25/13
“A book well worth reading.” —Celtic Lady’s Reviews 9/18/13
“I loved this book… Susan McDuffie’s amazing attention to detail, coupled with her exemplary story weaving abilities made this read a journey through time… If you like your mysteries very well written, interspersed with history, and a cozy wit and charm, THE STUDY OF MURDER is a lesson you can’t afford to miss.” —WTF Are You Reading? 9/22/2013
“This novel is the kind I relish… The world McDuffie evokes felt real… Not quite a cozy, but not exactly hard boiled, this is an atmospheric mystery.” —Unabridged Chick 9/21/2013
“THE STUDY OF MURDER is a worthy addition to Susan McDuffie’s 14th century Hebridean mystery series. Muirteach and Mariota may be in an alien world, when they accompany the son of the Lord of the Isles to Oxford, but neither town nor gown can match their clever wits in solving crime. This book is a treat for those of us eager for a fresh era, well-integrated history, and a host of interesting characters.” —Priscilla Royal, author of the Prioress Eleanor/Brother Thomas Medieval Mysteries.