Swords in the East (Sir Robert Carey Mysteries Omnibus)

Written by P. F. Chisholm
Review by Martin Bourne

This is the latest in a series following the historical figure of Robert Carey, a lawman on the English/Scottish border in the period immediately prior to the uniting of the two kingdoms. The tales are based on his memoirs and this helps considerably with the excellent period feel.

The book follows on directly from the previous books, and like A Chorus of Innocents, it is a murder mystery. However, this one is very character-based (and upon now well-established characters) and works better. Carey is away from the borders here, having run his suspect down in a mining operation run by “Deutschers” (Germans) in Keswick.

Some impressive research has gone into this book. The insight into this little-known community, not to mention the technical details on mining, really help to bring the story to life. Characterisation is excellent, particularly with the main villain.

Unlike the previous episodes, the “B” story arc, about the fearsome Border Reiver blood feud mentality, does not work as well because really not much happens, although the resolution at the end is very satisfying.