**AD| We were gifted an e-ARC of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
Like many avid readers I find it difficult to commit to series; often reading and enjoying the first book and leaving it far too long to pick up the sequel meaning they can fall to the wayside. However this isn’t the case for me when it comes to the Edinburgh Nights series by T L Huchu which has had me rapt from the very first sentence of The Library of the Dead and has kept me gasping for breath awaiting each new release. The Mystery of Dunvegan Castle* is the third in this post-catastrophe, dystopian world and I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to read an early copy as I’d been highly anticipating it’s release on 27th July. Despite my ever growing TBR pile I immediately cleared my diary to jump straight in, I simply couldn’t wait!
About The Book
She came for magic. She stayed to solve a murder. . .
Ropa Moyo is no stranger to magic or mysteries. But she’s still stuck in an irksomely unpaid internship. So she’s thrilled to attend a magical convention at Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye, where she’ll rub elbows with eminent magicians.
For Ropa, it’s the perfect opportunity to finally prove her worth. Then a librarian is murdered and a precious scroll stolen. Suddenly, every magician is a suspect, and Ropa and her allies investigate. Trapped in a castle, with suspicions mounting, Ropa must contend with corruption, skulduggery and power plays. Time to ask for a raise?
Lowly magical apprentice Ropa can’t think of anywhere she’d rather be than being bossed about as she helps to set up a magical conference at the dilapidated castle of the MacLeod clan on the Isle of Skye, but she knows it’s a means to an end. Used to being downtrodden and forgotten about she’s determined to get something out of her time at Dunvegan Castle even if it means being a little ‘light-fingered’ along the way. But when a librarian is murdered in cold blood and a coveted magical Ethiopian scroll presented by the conference’s special guest is stolen right under the magical society’s nose Ropa has to put her own plans on hold. With a magical force field surrounding the castle and it’s grounds tensions amongst the delegates are running high and everyone is a suspect, but will Ropa be able to solve the mystery before time runs out?
This instalment of Edinburgh Nights has a significantly different feel to it, but I absolutely loved it none the less. Despite being away from the city and the familiar backdrop of the trailer park where Ropa lives we still have all her friends from the magical society on board for the new adventure and I really enjoyed being privy to and gaining a better understanding of the hierarchy and systems in other parts of Scotland and over the border in England too. I found this book an easier read in the sense that the second book, Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, was quite content heavy, teaching us the magical understanding and intricacies of the world, subsequently allowing us as the reader to continue the series without the need for further explanation.
Whilst the previous books also had mysteries at their core the locked in/closed room style of Dunvegan’s puzzle was even more compelling as the suspects were laid bare from the beginning and left me questioning every little scenario and turning the page right up until the story’s ‘whodunnit’ climax. I loved that the plucky, fearless and outspoken Ropa is back with a bang and is trusted to take the reins in this story, both growing in confidence and also learning her worth within a society where she has always come bottom of the pile. Ropa’s character has definitely become one of my all-time favourites, her sarcasm and humour has me sniggering to myself throughout!
My only real miss of this instalment was the inclusion of Ropa’s Gran and her sister Izwi who I hope will feature more heavily in the next book as I loved to read about their character’s as well as the wonderful dynamic the trio share. It’s clear though that whatever is going to happen next in this story is something explosive and thrilling as the ending left me with that dull, exciting ache of expectation and I’m just sad that I’m going to have to be patient and wait to find out what’s next for Ropa! If you like the sound of this book I’d highly recommend reading the series in order as you would definitely struggle to understand some of this books content thanks to T L Huchu’s superb world building from the previous books – also what are you waiting for……run, don’t walk to the bookshop and jump straight in to this magical world you won’t be disappointed.
About The Author
T.L. Huchu’s work has appeared in Lightspeed, Interzone, AfroSF, The Apex Book of World SF 5, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery weekly, The Year’s Best Crime and Mystery Stories and elsewhere. He is the winner of a Nommo Award for African SFF, and has been shortlisted for the Caine Prize and the Grand prix do @’Imaginaire. He was one of the 2020 judges for the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer’s Awards.
The Mystery of Dunvegan Castle is available to pre order now from Amazon*