Envoy of the Black Pine
‘This is a very strange book,’ I was told after I had agreed to review it. It moves between the Cotswolds and the island of Hiiumaa, one of an archipelago in the Gulf of Riga, and it is not until the very last stages that the reader discovers just what is going on, and the connections between disparate events. The village of Lower Slaughter is devastated by a flood; Griselda Liit, originally from Hiiumaa, decides to return home. Meanwhile, amateur detective Whilbert Stroop, on the trail of a lost miniature library, also sets off for this remote island. On Hiiumaa the remains of mutilated animals keep being found, clearly placed to provide some sort of warning, and ships are attacked by pirates.
Clio Gray can write a good action scene, but her particular talent lies in her evocation of landscape and place.