Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Mass for the Dead & The Faerie Hills

The first two books in Susan McDuffie's Muirteach MacPhee mystery series have been republished with brand new covers designed by yours truly! Susan wanted new covers with more color, a bit more "pop," and a look we could carry over to each new book in this series set in 14th century Scotland. Here are the book descriptions:

Before & After:

Scotland 1373: Crispinus, the head of Oronsay Priory, is found dead, strangled and battered, his mouth stuffed with sand, in the middle of the tidal strand separating the holy island of Oronsay from the larger island of Colonsay. The Lord of the Isles, overlord of the islands, assigns the task of finding the killer to Muirteach, the Prior’s bastard son.

Since breaking with his father and leaving the monastery, Muirteach has spent his time acting as scribe for his uncle, an island chieftain. Muirteach’s father, a powerful churchman, leaves behind a mistress and several other bastards as well as his embittered eldest son, who is thankful he will never hear the words, “My bastard son, the cripple” again. 

As Muirteach seeks to find his father’s murderer he is helped by the physician Fearchar Beaton, and his daughter Mariota. Muirteach himself is suspected of the murder, as are the Prior’s mistress, her family, and the sub-prior. The killer strikes again, His Lordship wants the mystery solved before the Pope and the King in Edinburgh learn of it, and Muirteach himself must come to terms with his own troubled relationship with his father. Muirteach’s investigation submerges him deep into a whirlpool of deceit, long buried sins, and treachery, from which no one emerges unscathed. 

Before & After:

Scottish Hebrides, Autumn 1373: The eight year old grandson of the powerful Lord of the Isles vanishes on the windswept island of Colonsay, and rumors fly that he has been spirited away by the faerie. Muirteach MacPhee investigates but he suspects the boy’s disappearance has more to do with human greed and the mysterious piece of gold the lad found before he vanished. Muirteach scours the island, finding nothing except some hidden bones and an old man out looking for a lost goat. Mariota Beaton arrives from Islay to aid Muirteach in his search, but the lovely healer struggles with demons of her own. 

The island of Colonsay is rife with tales of faerie changelings, strange lights on the beach, and the bones of an infant found buried in a cave nearby. Muirteach’s investigation brings past grievances and old wounds to light but may not be enough to save the life of the missing boy, or Muirteach’s burgeoning relationship with Mariota.

THE FAERIE HILLS is an enigmatic historical mystery, set against a background of faerie lore and a Celtic culture that firmly believed in the “good people.” With a plot “as intricate as a Celtic knot” it will appeal to lovers of medieval and historical mystery. THE FAERIE HILLS was awarded "Best Historical Novel 2011" by the New Mexico Book Awards.

A Mass for the Dead and The Faerie Hills are available in ebook and print formats on Amazon. Add them to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Susan's website for the scoop on all of her books.

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