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Merchant's Mark: A Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery Paperback – October 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Constable (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569475547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569475546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,071,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In McIntosh's gripping third 15th-century historical featuring Scotsman Gil Cunningham (after 2005's The Nicholas Feast), the young lawyer-to-be finds himself in the middle of a murder inquiry when a Glasgow merchant friend, Augie Morison, discovers a severed head in a barrel that should have contained books. When Morison is accused of the murder, the amateur sleuth, aided by his future father-in-law, Master Pierre, seeks to identify the victim, as well as the source of the valuable jewels that were also concealed in the barrel. The pair cross paths with a variety of Scottish nobles, even as a bloodthirsty hit man known simply as the Axeman piles up an impressive body count that silences a number of potential witnesses. While the prime mover behind the crimes will be obvious to many, McIntosh's characterizations and period detail are first-rate and bode well for future entries in this series. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Resourceful burgess-detective Gil Cunningham returns in a new mystery set in medieval Scotland. When Gil teams up with merchant Augie Morison to import a shipment of books from the Low Countries, the two receive much more than they anticipated. Instead of literary masterpieces, Gil and Augie are horrified to find the severed head of a man, pickled in brine, swimming in the bottom of the newly arrived barrel. In addition, a leather pouch containing a sizable treasure is also fished out of the cask. After Augie is accused of murder, Gil must investigate the puzzling crime in order to free his friend from prison. With a historian's eye for detail and a novelist's flair for plot and characterization, McIntosh provides an intelligent, authentic, and suspenseful historical whodunit that will please the most demanding of Ellis Peters' fans. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Root on August 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Gil Cunningham mysteries give me what I like best: a cast of strong, likeable characters, and a convincing entree to another time and place. Gil's forceful sister Kate, and her devoted serving woman Babb are welcome additions to the cast of characters.

The story is set during the reign of James IV (1488 - 1513). Gil's upperclass family took a fall when his father and brothers fought and died for the losing side, James III, in a civil war. Gil has had to struggle to establish himself well-enough to marry his beloved Alys, daughter of a French master mason.

In this book, a close friend is arrested for murder; Gil and his other friends, are determined to clear him. The case proves to have complicated political ramifications, in addition to simple greed. His investigations take him as far as the royal court and a meeting with James IV.

These are somewhat challenging mysteries. McIntosh uses a lot of Scots words; it is almost always clear enough what they mean, although I enjoy looking up precise meanings later. The plots are quite complex, with multiple sides and ambiguous characters. This is the sort of series that I think is worth rereading from time to time.

Looking forward to the next!

First book in the series: The Harper's Quine: A Medieval Murder Mystery
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on September 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Gripping" is not the word I'd use to describe Pat McIntosh's third Gil Cunningham historical mystery, "The Merchant's Mark." However, to give Ms McIntosh her due, the series, including the latest has some strong, positive marks. It's a series that I have found worth the time and effort. And, yes, there is a bit of an effort in that the author's use of the 15th century (one assumes) vernacular makes the story not so gripping but ofttimes a pain. Hint to Ms McIntosh: your American readers, if you desire them, have difficulty with all that local jargon. Perhaps you might wish to lighten up a bit, even for your own modern British readers.

Still, this reader puts aside this objection and is able to follow the plot anyway. At the onset, Gil is summoned by neighbor and fellow citizen Augie Morison to open up his latest shipment, which is meant to have included a load of books they've ordered. Lo and behold, when the barrel is opened they find not a book but a head in brine, accompanied by some treasure! Due to various circumstances, which the author rushes to include in order to advance her plot, the owner of the shipment Augie is summarily indicted for the murder. Of course, Gil, his fiance Alys, his crippled sister Kate, his future father in law Pierre, and eventually even the king of Scotland, James IV, get into the act and McIntosh's plot is off and running.

The book has its moments, certainly spell-binding and suspenseful moments, but this reader would prefer a good mystery just to stay a good mystery (and this one is) and he doesn't need the romantic subplots and sentamentality that the author is prone to include.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Myra Aronow on April 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband and I find this series an dependably interesting treat. The sense of time and place adds to a good story.
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