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Finlay McNab, curator of the Black House museum, is passionate about the Hoolish Stones, the ancient stone circle that has stood on West Uist for countless millennia. He has spent years trying to decipher the strange markings on the stones and is suspicious of the cult-like group that has taken over Dunshiffin Castle in preparation of celebrating the summer solstice. It seems that his fatal mistake was to challenge their beliefs on Scottish TV. Yet Inspector Torquil MacKinnon has many other things on his mind, not the least the disturbingly attractive Sergeant Lorna Golspie, who has been sent to investigate the way he runs his station. Will Golspie be enough to distract him from the forthcoming Murder Solstice?


First published September 30, 2008

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About the author

Keith Moray

17 books40 followers
Pen name of Keith Moray Souter, also writes as Keith Souter and Clay More.

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5 stars
291 (45%)
4 stars
230 (35%)
3 stars
101 (15%)
2 stars
12 (1%)
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5 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Matt.
3,812 reviews12.8k followers
June 21, 2018
First and foremost, a large thank you to Keith Moray and Sapere Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

In continuing this unique series, Keith Moray leads the reader back to the Hebrides, where he recounts another Scottish police procedural/mystery full of local flavouring. When Dunshiffin Castle receives new inhabitants, West Uist is abuzz and not entirely for the right reasons. The Daisy Institute has made its presence known and recruiting for their spiritual retreat and enlightenment programme. While many flock to the group, family members have begun complaining that those who join are kept away from outside communication. The leader, the esteemed Dr. Logan Burns, has professed that a local site, the Hoolish Stones, could be part of a larger enlightenment piece, which will be revealed at the summer solstice. With a news crew in West Uist to cover the lead-up to the solstice and all that Burns can tell about his programme, a local historian is ready to debunk the entire Institute however he can. Inspector Torquil ‘Piper’ McKinnon has been running his police detachment effectively, or so he thinks, though he is always being criticised by his superior on the mainland. With all the excitement, a new face turns up in town, Sergeant Lorna Golspie, seconded by the Hebrides Constabulary to report back and clean up what has become a lax detachment. McKinnon does not take well to this and pushes back in his traditional passive aggressive ways, which only angers the mainland even more. The peace and tranquility of West Uist is broken when the aforementioned historian turns up dead, possibly from a drunken fall, but there is something that does not seem right to some of the locals. As McKinnon and his team try to investigate, the uproar with the Daisy Institute increase and tempers flare. A second death forces a complete change in efforts from indifferent acceptance to active interrogation. Tranquility and peacefulness are pushed aside in West Uist, leaving anything but a fertile foundation for enlightenment. The local journalist reminds his readers and McKinnon about the double murder/murder-suicide back at the winter solstice, not six months before. It would seem that Torquil McKinnon and his team are sitting on a powder keg yet again, with no clear means of diffusing it, while also trying to handle Sergeant Golspie and her secondment mission. Another well-paced mystery has Moray convincing me that I chose well in turning to his series. Recommended for those who love police procedural with a different take.

When the publisher approached me to read and review the first few novels in the series, I was hooked by the opening lines. This third novel was more of the same, taking me back into the rural Scottish community Moray developed. Torquil McKinnon remains an interesting character, mixing a reputable career as a member of the constabulary with a strong connection to the locals, some of whom have come to call him a personal friend. There is little backstory here, but McKinnon’s policing and struggles with superiors who are away from West Uist remains central, particularly with the secondment of Golspie. Her presence does impact the novel in interesting ways that the reader will discover as they delve deeper and understand some of the nuances of the plot. The story is full of strong secondary characters, many of whom are new and gain entry into the narrative, shaping it effectively. These individuals, returnees and new folk alike, add humour and banter for the reader, as well as some sinister aspects, which one can hope will return in future novels. The story itself is decent and keeps the narrative flowing well, though I admit to liking it the least of the three novels so far. Discussion of cults and isolation is nothing new, though it did serve a purpose and as a bridge to get through the solstice theme, which Moray handled nicely. While some may be familiar with ‘big city’ and tangential police procedurals, the reader can enjoy this close-knit story that fills the pages with Scottish lore! I’ll gladly read the rest of this series (at five novels so far), if only to learn more about McKinnon and the West Uist community.

Kudos, Mr. Moray, for this wonderful piece. I enjoyed the story and its clipped delivery, which proves a refreshing alternative to much of what I have been reading.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Susan Wright.
22 reviews
May 7, 2017
I found this a slow starter even though several bodies were discovered in the first few pages. That may just have been a result of not having read anything by this author before, as the pace definitely picked up as a read on.

Several interwoven threads and a host of possible suspects, with a few good red herrings thrown in meant that this story kept me guessing right to the very end.

Thoroughly enjoyable read, will definitely be looking out for other books in the West Uist series.
Profile Image for Jillian.
683 reviews10 followers
August 18, 2019
I’m very pleased to have discovered this series. The third one lived up to my expectations. Like the earlier two, this one manages to combine a strong sense of local landscape its characters worth engaging with, a puzzle or two and good writing.

It sent me off to find out more about the Hoolish Stones - a sign that the book had drawn me into its world.

I look forward to more!
June 12, 2018
have enjoyed all five books in this series. The characters are well drawn and consistent; the plots are interesting and the killers are not obvious. However, it is the sense of place that keeps drawing me back. Each time I pick up one of these novels it feels like returning to an inviting and familiar place--murders not withstanding. The magic of West Uist reminds me of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series--my favorite of all time. The setting is a reflection of the characters who are every day people whom it is easy to care about.

In general, Keith Moray is a good writer which makes all of the difference to me. A detective story can have the most interesting and exciting plot ever, but if the writing itself is no good, I won't finish the book

My only criticism is that in an effort to make each of these a stand alone novel, Moray's descriptions of certain people and places becomes redundant by the fourth book. For example, the description of the news editor's office seemed to be cut and pasted from previous novels in the series. Bear in mind that I read all four books within a two week span. I did notice less repetition in the Book 5, and I will be watching out for book 6.
136 reviews6 followers
March 11, 2019
A group of cult like people have taken over the castle, The Daisy Institute. It's headed by Logan Burns, a self acclaimed expert in reading the symbols on the stones found on West Uist. Also on hand is a dog fighting group and a team producing eggs laid by hens kept under deplorable conditions. Quite enough to start the bodies falling.
Also new to the island is Lorna Gilspoy, sent by Tonquil's nemesis, the always angry superintendent. Her job is to report back to him anything she finds that is negative about the police group on the island. Which she does.
Calem Steele is back to his old tricks trying to cover the news. However, cover it he does getting himself in trouble for his pains.
Again I found it difficult to put the book down enjoying the story and the characters. They are so clearly defined developed that I wouldn't mind meeting g them. One book to go. I hope Mr. Moray continues his series. Can't wait for book 6.
530 reviews7 followers
October 31, 2019
More like 3.75 stars but that is being too pernickety.
A good read in a good series. I do find that the violence is pretty harsh but it shouldn't put prospective readers off as it is not dwelt upon at length and is appropriate to the story and the final denoument.
This is book 3 in the series and I had just read book 2. It's often a mistake to read two or more of the same series in quick succession and I think I may have enjoyed this more if I'd waited longer.
Profile Image for Diane L. Woodbury.
45 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2018
The series just gets better and better!

The characters make this series one of the best I've ever read, and in my many years I have done quite a bit of reading! The plots are also fascinating, and the setting makes all of it fit together very smoothly. I wish I had twenty more to read! Hint Mr. moray?
Profile Image for Susan.
5,633 reviews53 followers
May 17, 2019
Dunshiffin Castle has been bought and made the headquaters of the Daisy Institute. Scholarly research group or a cult? But Finley McNab, museum curator, is suspicious. Inspector McKinnon are faced with investigating, some deaths, but are their suicide,accidents or murder.
Another enjoyable well-written read in this series. Also helped with having some very likeable and well-drawn characters
632 reviews5 followers
April 25, 2020
I love this series

I am a binge reader of books I enjoy . This team headed by Inspector McKinnon is a close knit group who solve complicated and usually multiple cases much to the superintendents 's dismay . He's quite a buffoon . So a new age group , bad chicken farmer and possible dog breeder have problems .
Profile Image for Amanda Meggs.
423 reviews5 followers
September 22, 2022
A new religious group have taken over the castle, some calling it a cult but the people joining up say they are happy. There are some deaths that may or may not be suspicious - but who are we kidding? Of course they are suspicious. Inspector McKinley looks like he might be getting a love interest, and Ewan might get a push bike instead of borrowing his mum's old scooter.
270 reviews1 follower
July 22, 2018
Ok I’m hooked!

I’ve just downloaded ‘Flotsam & Jetsam’ as now I want to know what happens next - needed to read the first couple of books before I committed to reading the series. Now I’m hooked! There goes another Sunday....
Profile Image for Kirk.
425 reviews
August 14, 2018
Another great read!

If you're a fan of good old fashion British crime stories, the you need to read the Inspector Torquil McKinnon mysteries. In the spirit of Agatha Christie, these books are so entertaining!
Profile Image for Susan Thompson.
52 reviews
September 22, 2018
More Murders

More murders than Midsomer, the bodies are piling up, the Superintendent is not happy, Callum has a cub reporter to train and Torquil is in love. Enjoyable read onto number five in the series
649 reviews1 follower
February 21, 2019
I have just finished reading the first,three Torquil McKinnon mystery, great read, developing the characters well and lovingly. The mysteries are not so mysterious, but very entertaining. I’ll wait a bit to read Flotsam & Jetsam. Too much of West Uist might spoil it.
Profile Image for David Gilchrist.
434 reviews40 followers
May 4, 2018
I liked the characters, the story I felt was a tad slow and finished with a rush.
Profile Image for Bryan Edward.
323 reviews9 followers
March 6, 2021
You can really tell that Keith Moray is getting better with each Torquil McKinnon book. My favorite of the three so far, this one is really well plotted and well written.
23 reviews
April 13, 2021
Another first class murder, mystery novel again from an author that knows how to keep the reader on tender hooks from page to page.
Profile Image for Jack.
2,609 reviews19 followers
November 30, 2021
Murder and mayhem in the islands, with a great collection of endearing and not so pleasant characters.
431 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2018
A great island based mystery. Enjoyed the characters and the descriptions of the island of Uist.
110 reviews
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 25, 2023
Got through 20% of audiobook- enjoyed the narration by David McCallion as always, but overall story not very interesting and then the characters started turning into caricatures.
125 reviews1 follower
July 7, 2018
I am not sure if this book is genius Para Handy or really bad. It’s set in the fictional island of West Uist whose main town must be a fictional Stornoway. Not an island you want to visit lots of murders. Of the five I’ve now read this was my least favourite and least plausible.
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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