I love this book. The plot to me was took 2nd place to the story of the lives of the people who lived on Lewis and Harris Island. To me the idea of living on a remote island fascinates me. I did enjoy the story line and this being the 2nd in the Trilogy I look forward to reading the 3rd book "The Chessmen". Highly recommend this book for a comfortable read and also the characters that evolve. Tormad with his memory loss I thought was a great way to have a both the past mixed in with the present. Clever writing
A body is found in a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis. Initially the finders thought that the male Caucasian corpse might be over 2000 years old, until they saw the Elvis Presley tattoo on his right arm. It’s clear that the man has been murdered: but by whom, and when? Fin Macleod, former policeman, has left his wife and his job in Edinburgh. He’s returned to the Isle of Lewis, and is trying to make his long-dead parents’ cottage habitable.
Tormod Macdonald, father of Marsaili, is elderly and suffering from dementia. His wife and daughter have always believed him to be an only child, so how can it be that a DNA test shows the corpse to be a relative of Tormod’s? Fin McLeod has time on his hands, and an interest in the Macdonald family. He’s happy to help the local police while they await assistance from the mainland.
‘There is always a moment of internal silence after being in the presence of death. A reminder of your own fragile mortality.’
Who is the dead man? Who killed him? And how is he related to Tormod? The story unfolds with Fin’s detective work in the present taking the story back into the past, while flashbacks from Tormod’s past provide a poignant dimension. Tormod has his own secrets as well, and his dementia is an added complication.
I kept turning the pages, keen to learn why the man was murdered and by whom. I was also interested in learning more about Tormod MacDonald’s past.
This is the second novel in Peter May’s Lewis trilogy. While it is possible to read this novel as a standalone, I’d recommend reading it after the first novel. The past, in this series, is always important. I’m now looking forward to reading the final novel in the trilogy.
Like Peter May's previous novel The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man tells a pretty loose murder mystery with a much bigger back story of the hard life on the islands. In this case, the story revolves around a corpse that has lain buried in peat for 50 years or more and the circumstances which caused the body to be there.
Leading the investigation, we have Fin Macleod, former Edinburgh police detective who is now between jobs on the island of his childhood - Lewis. The narrative takes up where the Blackhouse left off, and we revisit many of the same characters. The island remains the star of the show - and anyone who has ever lived there will tell you that the weather and the landscape matter. Lewis is not suburbia.
There are some scenes which take place in an ambiguous location which later resolves itself into Edinburgh, but until the location becomes clear the story is somewhat confusing. When it does resolve itself, the murder mystery starts to become clear. In this sense, it is a bit of a non-mystery. It's really a novel about people and place.
Unfortunately, like The Blackhouse, the novel is let down by a racy, pacy ending that is incongruous with the island surroundings. It didn't need it: the story was strong enough on its own merits. Nevertheless, this comes late enough that it doesn't really take away from the real human story that is being told.