The Death of a Falcon

Written by Susan McDuffie
Review by Val Adolph

In this, the fifth of the Muirteach MacPhee mysteries, Muirteach and his wife, Mariota, find themselves at the court of King Robert II of Scotland in 1375. Muirteach is new to the ways of the court in Edinburgh, and he is soon beguiled by Lady Ingvilt, wife of one of the knights.

This distracts him from the ship recently arrived from the northern lands, its captain, and its cargo of three magnificent falcons. The two largest falcons are worth a king’s ransom. Then one is stolen and the other slashed and close to death. Not long afterwards the stolen bird is found dead and the captain’s own daughter is found murdered.

The captain is imprisoned, suspected of the killing. Muirteach struggles to find the killer, all the while besotted by the beautiful Lady Ingvilt. More murders occur and death creeps closer to both Muirteach and Mariota.

This novel is well researched, the settings accurate and vivid, the characters varied and interestingly unpredictable. As a bonus we get a glimpse of life in the northern world of Greenland and Iceland in medieval times. It is an enjoyable, fast-paced read that opens up one of the lesser-known corners of history.