Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Mass for the Dead (Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #1)” as Want to Read:
A Mass for the Dead (Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Mass for the Dead

(Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  13 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 241 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Susan McDuffie (first published November 15th 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Mass for the Dead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Mass for the Dead

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  13 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great descriptions of early Scotland. A mystery that will keep you reading.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
A Scottish mystery

Fun read. Loved being transported to a mystical time in Scottish history. The story kept my interest, the detail brought me back in time. I look forward to the next book.
Deborah Bogen
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Strangely compelling

Strangely compelling

this is a quiet tale that draws you in with its careful unfolding of events and its understanding of human behavior as both idiosyncratic and oddly universal. The Scottish history is intriguing and the characters are clear and interesting. Try this one.
Rob Melich
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Adequate adolescent fiction. Not a favorite read. It was in the family’s to be read pile.
Ken Cook
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Informative book set in fourteenth century Scotland, the western islands. The protagonist is sympathetic, and the author draws him well. Other major characters are also filled in, and the plot is well developed. The climax follows the revelation of the murderer and is unexpected. Nice twists throughout the story.
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very pleasant surprise for a first novel from a previously unknown-to-me author. Set in the 1370's in the remote Inner Hebrides (a group of islands off the coast of Scotland), it features a young man named Muirteach who is expected to find the murderer of his father. He is the bastard son of the local Prior, a man with many enemies, so Muirteach's task is not an easy one.

The book presents that too-seldom found combination of excellent research and outstanding writing and storytelling which com
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-edition
This was quite a surprise. It actually exceeded my expectations for a first historic mystery novel. I picked it up quite by chance as I'm intrigued by all things Scottish and/or Medieval and this seemed as if it would fit the bill. Muirteach McPhee is tasked with finding the murderer of his father a not-so-holy prior. And it goes on from there. Great characters, great scenery and except for one itty-bitty-nit, great history. I have never heard of Tir Na Nog referenced as a Scottish story and so ...more
Katharina Gerlach
Understanding a Scottish accent is hard enough when you hear it, so I was skeptical about reading this book. But the author managed to write not only a truly terrific and fast paced murder mystery, but also put just enough Scottish into the dialog that I could hear the people speak "de lingo".

I love Scotland and, what's more, I've got relatives living on Colonsay. I found that I could "see" the island in my mind, the author described the places so well. Also, I found the characters engaging. Mod
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Susan McDuffie's second book. I read her first one, The Faerie Hills, and really enjoyed it. A Mass For the Dead has the same main character, Muirteach McPhee, and the same beautiful descriptions and narration of the first book. The only thing I didn't appreciate much was the pretty vivid daydream of a monk while he was looking at a naked woman, but I have to admit, it did add important facts about the monk for the story.
A Mass For The Dead is a historical fiction set in the 13th century
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
It was an all right read, though I like it less the more I think about it. I can see how forgiving his father helps the main character, but, considering all we learn about the father, it ends up feeling a Especially when the killer descends into madness. Let's just say there are some unfortunate implications lurking in there. (And the more I think about the killer's actions, the less it all makes sense. I guess after the first murder they just... lost it. IDK.)
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm loving these books - set in the 14th century on the western islands of Scotland, the books have a very unusual and appealing hero - a young gaelic-speaking scottish detective who is a bit lazy, a bit of a drinker, fond of nature and animals in a relaxed way. Atmospheric writing.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Muirteach mystery and I enjoyed it. A good mystery, mixed with enough detail and vernacular speech to make the story and time period entertaining. I'll try some others in the series.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed enough to order another of her books.
Kathy Griffin
rated it liked it
Jan 24, 2014
Stephanie Pilachowski
rated it it was ok
Nov 24, 2014
Rodene Harwood
rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2014
Rachel Cochran
rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2014
rated it really liked it
Oct 13, 2015
Jennifer Warnock
rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2019
Brenda J
rated it liked it
May 12, 2012
rated it it was ok
Oct 22, 2012
Margaret Tassey
rated it it was amazing
Oct 05, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2013
Joanna McDarby
rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2013
virginia mcgaraghan
rated it it was ok
Aug 05, 2014
rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2014
rated it really liked it
May 19, 2014
Linda Lynn
rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2017
Ann James
rated it it was ok
Oct 14, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Susan McDuffie has been a devotee of historical fiction since her childhood, when she believed she had mistakenly been born in the wrong century. Her discovery that Clorox was not marketed prior to the 1920s reconciled her to modern life. Susan writes historical mysteries set in medieval Scotland, and has also published Regency short stories. The Muirteach MacPhee Mysteries include A MASS FOR THE ...more

Other books in the series

Muirteach MacPhee Mystery (4 books)
  • The Faerie Hills (Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #2)
  • The Study of Murder (Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #3)
  • The Death of a Falcon (Muirteach MacPhee Mystery #4)