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Hue and Cry (Hew Cullan Mystery #1)

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3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  357 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
1579, St. Andrews. A thirteen-year old boy meets his death on the streets of the university city of St. Andrews and suspicion falls upon one of the regents at the university, Nicholas Colp. Hew Cullan, a young lawyer recently returned home from Paris, uncovers a complex tale of passion and duplicity, of sexual desire and tension within the repressive atmosphere of the Prot ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published 2010 by Polygon (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emma
Jun 15, 2016 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval, historical
I've read quite a few medieval detective stories and this was on a par with most of them. The only series that stood out to me were the CJ Sansom Shardlake series and the Matthew Bartholomew series by Susannah Gregory. This was quite good but I don't know if I'll ever be inclined to continue the series. I liked the comic relief of Hew's horse Dun Scottis: definitely the best character!
Bryn Hammond
Jan 29, 2014 Bryn Hammond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: imagined-fiction
Inescapably I thought of the Matthew Shardlake mystery I read last year – lured by what I’d heard of its dirty streets of 16th century England, C.J. Sansom’s sensory evocation of setting. Here I am in 16th century Scotland, in a novel written first to evoke time and place, with a gritty detailed realism, that stands your hair on end. I’ll go on with my Shardlakes but I found this one even more effective, and Hew Cullan has jumped the queue.

The writing is a joy. I notice in the author biography
...more
Sharon4
Sep 05, 2011 Sharon4 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was a smashing read, and particularly impressive for the first in a series. It didn't drag as they sometimes do and the characters worked well. They weren't sacrificed in the interests of keeping the plot going. I like authors who want us to be invested in their characters - it makes me want to read more of them.
Denise
Dec 31, 2016 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2016
16th century Scotland: Having recently returned from Paris to his home town, young lawyer Hew Cullan finds himself involved in a complex murder case when an old friend of is suspected of being responsible for the death of a 13-year-old boy he was tutoring. To clear his friend's name, Hew looks into the case himself and soon discovers that there is a lot more to it than one might suspect at first glance.

A solid historical mystery read. I enjoyed the very well rendered atmosphere a lot, but unfort
...more
Amy Corwin
Jan 10, 2012 Amy Corwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about half-way through so far. I'm enjoying it although there are some sentences I've had to skip because I couldn't quite figure out what was meant. Not a lot, though, and not enough to ruin the story.

Now that I'm done, I have to say I enjoyed it, although it was a little on the longish side. It reminded me, however, of the challenges of historical novels in that when characters such as the doctor are true to their time and start talking about "balancing the humours in a body" to make them
...more
Tocotin
A very well written, but completely nerve-wrecking book. I know next to nothing about feudal Scotland, but the details and the dialogue felt very different from the usual historical fiction fare – it took me to a new place and time… and to be honest, not always the one where I’d liked to go.

And the book isn’t graphic in any way, mind. Most is of the horror is left unsaid. But it makes you think. How did those people of old endure all this cruelty and tyranny? And it was sometimes impossible to f
...more
Susan McDuffie
Jan 15, 2012 Susan McDuffie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I devoured this book in one sitting--well, I did sleep for about 4 hours before I finished it off! A lovely historical mystery, with very well developed characters, a great sense of time and place, and an intriguing plot. Highly recommended!
Breakaway Reviewers
It is 1579, and the boy-king James VI sits on the Scottish throne, unsure of his power and surrounded by scheming advisors. Destined to unite the crowns of Scotland and England in his royal person, how will he survive these turbulent years and become master of Britain?

Well, if you’re looking for courtly intrigue and the affairs of state writ large you should search elsewhere, because this novel’s all about the student lawyer Hew Cullan and his exploits in sixteenth century Scotland. This might
...more
Euraylie
I feel bad about this, as obviously a lot of work and research went into the book, but it was almost a DNF for me. It probably deserves three, but two stars is simply reflective of my enjoyment of it.
The writing is very choppy at the start, which calms down by the halfway mark.
What doesn't calm down are the constant and lengthy POV changes. Almost every side character gets one. (And most turn tedious and prove insignificant to the plot)
Who hardly gets any POV scenes is the titular character, H
...more
Jo-anne Atkinson
Hew Cullen has been studying in France for several years but is coming home to Scotland. On his return to St Andrews he finds himself embroiled in murder and corruption involving his friends, his University colleagues and even his family. in Scotland in the late 16th Century the Kirk holds sway and a terror of witchcraft means that many are vulnerable. The discovery of a dead boy at the weavers shop links commercial pressure with sin and also a scholarly scandal that Hew must unravel to save his ...more
Kathy
Aug 01, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sold. I shall dip into the next as soon as I get through a couple other books I have already started. Hew's growth as a character in this first book was a slow revelatory kind of thing. Initially he does not present as a strong character, but in time he leads the others through the woods of challenging and seemingly impossible circumstances and accusations. I can state with certainty that I am truly glad I did not live through the "kirk" experience in Scotland. I know the history of religion ...more
Bonnie
After reading the second, I decided to read the first in this series. There are a lot of words that I had to figure out the meaning from the context. In fact, it would be good to have a glossary, but the language contributes well to the setting of 16th century Scotland. Though the young king appears in this book, as well as the second, the setting is realistically portrayed so you don't feel you're reading a fairy tale. The author is very skilled in her portrayal of the main characters, too, in ...more
Elaine
Aug 21, 2012 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Am instictively drawn to historical murder mysteries, set in university locations. This one sounds particularly appealing to me as it is based in St Andrews, a place close to our hearts!With 4 novels in the series to date, am hoping that this will provide an insighful read, to time, place and events. Once again, have been drawn in not simply by synopsis, but by the cover (am I the marketing man's dream?)
Donald
Apr 10, 2013 Donald rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this, and the medieval setting was conjured up beautifully, without relying on vernacular 'Scots' that actually mean looking up every second word online! (Like a certain similar series :P )
The plot seemed quite straightforward, yet the explanation completely twisted that around quite cleverly, and yet believably.
Val Sanford
A 'wouldn't-be-a-lawyer-if-could-be-something-else', Hew Cullan returns to his home town only to stumble over a wicked murder. He has to use his wits to find the real murder or his friend will be hung in short order. Plot twists and turns keep things interesting while the author explores the political intrigue of 1579 in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Karen Lowe
A really enjoyable read. Historic St Andrews is becoming familiar territory now, thanks to this and to Lexie Cunningham's books! The characters are well-drawn, and the research provides for a real 'feel' of the time. All that and an intriguing plot: a good introduction into the world of Hew Cullan.
Definitely a three and three quarter stars for this.
Loobylou
Jun 10, 2011 Loobylou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Liked the details in the book. How cloth was dyed in those days, how it was so easy to be labelled a watch, no pews in the church, university life etc. Also a very good whodunnit. Good main characters.
Sheila
Nov 21, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun to read if you know St Andrews, and the historical detail is fascinating. Interesting use of language to convey the medieval flavour but doesn't hold up the plot. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the sequels.
windy
Jun 14, 2014 windy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pleasant surprise- a historical mystery that doesn't seem artificial or far-fetched. Although, as usual for this genre, some of the main characters seem inexplicably modern in their attitudes.
Margaret
Mar 01, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read, well researched, not too long and the pace, though leisurely is consistent. Set in the 16th century, it is tale of murder and intrigue with the University and the town as a very realistic background.
Richard
Oct 05, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Maybe it's because I'm familiar with the city and its history but it's an enjoyable read. It's a little long and could be doing with losing about 50 pages but the detail is fascinating.
Lexie Conyngham
Sep 02, 2011 Lexie Conyngham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific book. The St. Andrews setting helped get me on side from the start but the writing was lovely, the plot pleasantly convoluted and the characterisation good. Excellent historical setting, very strong. I sat down and read it in a day - delicious luxury these days but well worth it!
Jane Walker
Feb 12, 2012 Jane Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An excellent historical mystery set in 16th century St Andrews. Hew Cullan is an interesting character, the period detail is expertly done and the plot is satisfying. The ending comes without much preparation. But I would certainly read further books in the series.
David
May 28, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit meandering at times but all comes together at the end. Great depiction of 16th century Scotland
Julie
Entertaining enough, but a deus ex machina ending and everything but the kitchen sink plot doesn't make it super compelling.
Levent Mollamustafaoglu
It's rare that I can not finish a book I've started reading. This is one of these rare cases. Boring book about a crime story in the 1600's in Scotland.
Iris P
Jul 01, 2011 Iris P rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The name dropping gets tiresome and unfortunately, the story seems to be given less attention than the setting.
Liz
Jan 29, 2015 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
A bit formulaic - thriller set in an unusual place/time (St.Andrew's Scotland/ late 1500s - very well researched and written but storyline all over the place. Good discussion though!
Sue
Sue rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2016
Jennifer Reid
Jennifer Reid rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2011
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Shirley McKay was born in Tynemouth but now lives with her family in Fife. At the age of fifteen she won the Young Observer playwriting competition, her play being performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs. She went on to study English and Linguistics at the University of St Andrews before attending Durham University for postgraduate study in Romantic and seventeenth century prose. She was sho ...more
More about Shirley Mckay...

Other Books in the Series

Hew Cullan Mystery (6 books)
  • Fate and Fortune (Hew Cullan Mystery, #2)
  • Time & Tide (Hew Cullan Mystery, #3)
  • Friend & Foe (Hew Cullan Mystery, #4)
  • Queen & Country (Hew Cullan Mystery, #5)
  • 1588: A Calendar of Crime: A Novel in Five Books

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