1588: A Calendar of Crime

Written by Shirley McKay
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This title is described as a novel in five books, consisting of five short stories featuring Shirley McKay’s characters from the Hew Cullan series. The University of St Andrews in Fife is home to Hew Cullan, a Professor in Law who is well known in the locality for solving every sort of problem that rears its head. These stories, which were originally published as e‑books, are set around the four quarter-days of Candlemas, Whitsun, Lammas and Martinmas, plus the feast of Yule in the year 1588, with the Spanish Armada around our shores. Each story has a problem to be solved, varying from straightforward murder to mysterious ghosts and disappearing bodies.

Once I had got to grips with the local dialect, which wasn’t particularly difficult, I found the five stories light reading to be enjoyed when one had a few moments to spare, be that at home, on a journey or on holiday. McKay has written five previous full-length novels featuring Hew Cullan. No doubt fans of this particular sleuth will welcome this new collection, but I can’t honestly say that I will be continuing with this series.