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The Harper's Quine (Gilbert Cunningham, #1)
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The Harper's Quine (Gil Cunningham #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  718 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
When newly qualified lawyer Gil Cunningham finds the body of a young woman in Glasgow Cathedral he is asked to investigate. He identifies the corpse as a woman he recognized at the May Day dancing in Glasgow Cross, the runaway wife of the cruel and unpleasant nobleman John Semphill. With Maistre Pierre, a French master mason involved in a new building at the Cathedral, Gil ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 26th 2004 by Carroll & Graf (first published January 1st 2004)
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I am somewhat conflicted about this book. The characters were really great. Gil and Alys both have somewhat modern views views for their time but not so extreme that you feel like a 21st centutry person fell through time and is now enraged by the treatment of the poor/women/children or holds speeches about how capital punisment is wrong.
The mystery itself was quite well done, too. I did figure out who did it about halfway-through but I had no idea about the why and figuring out that together wit
Gil Cunningham is a medieval Scottish man tasked with investigating the death of a harper's woman. Learned in law and intended for the church, he is reasonable and does not jump to conclusions. With help from a mason (who has a lively, lovely, single daughter), Gil solves the crime - and finds himself a bride.

This is the first in a series, the rest of which I have not yet read. I was interested to see if I could find something kind of similar to the Cadfael series, but I am not a fan of medieval
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
I know I am smitten by a good story if it has me seeking out more information on the time or place (Wikipedia has not been helpful this time, however).

Even though I figured out who the murderer was by the middle of the book, it was still quite enjoyable watching Maister Gil untangle the knot too. While I knew "who", I didn't quite figure out "why" until our protagonist did. Intertwined with the story is Gil who is given the duty to ferret out the murderer. He's a newly minted lawyer and on the t
Feb 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Not sure how I heard of Pat McIntosh – possibly one of the Amazon “customers who bought this also bought…” lists. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the first one because of the use of dialect, some of which I still haven’t been able to figure out from the context, but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed it “The harper’s quine” and then went on to “The Nicholas feast.” I am lost in the Scots politics of Campbells and Montgomerys and Hamiltons and Cunninghams – maybe I need to read a history o ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
This is another book that I picked up because a friend enjoyed it. It's a murder mystery, set in late 15th-century Glasgow, a time and place about which I know pretty much nothing. Which is probably a good thing, because if there are any anachronisms I didn't notice them.

The setting is, in fact, very well drawn; I felt I was seeing a good picture of medieval Glasgow and its habits and customs. Characterisation is strong too, with even the minor characters clearly delineated. And the plot...yes,
Tomgirl deni
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable will be reading more by this author. never really thought of Glasgow being a mediaeval town before.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A slow start, but hang in there, the action picks up. Good mystery plot.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this first book. It was an easy, yet entertaining read; perfect for a cozy winter weekend by the fireplace. I will definitely continue reading this series.
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the plot of this novel but found the language used to be difficult to understand at times. The characters are all well developed but there are just too many of them to keep straight.
Maureen E
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
by Pat McIntosh

I picked this one up at a recent public library trip after a recommendation from Deb. I was hoping for a satisfying mystery with interesting characters and a clearly drawn setting. I definitely found all of that here.

Gil Cunningham, a young man struggling with his desire to do right by his family and his knowledge that he is not fitted for the priesthood, discovers a dead body. Because the body is on the grounds of Glasgow Cathedral, of which his uncle is a Canon, he is given the
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think that anyone who pays some attention to my reviews here would easily be able to guess that I love mysteries and I love historical fiction. So when I came across Harper’s Quine as a book that offers both, I had to buy it. But, as is so often the case, it sat on my shelf next to a whole lot of other unread books as I tried mightily to catch my reading rate up to my shopping rate.

Finally, finally, it was time to give Harper’s Quine a turn, and I immediately regretted that I had waited so lon
Angie Taylor
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have had this book on my shelf for months and only picked it up in desperation while I wait for Amazon to deliver my next Hugh de Singleton novels: I have to say, I love desperation when it brings me to a little treasure like this. Okay, I accept that the Scots phrasing made me work a little harder than I'd have liked and the actual murderer was reasonably easy to spot but I really did like Gil and Alys as characters. I also liked Gil's uncle, Pierre the mason and many of the other characters. ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was quite a surprise and a much tougher read than I was in the mood for at the time. BUT, I persisted and was mightily rewarded. The history packed into this is amazing and the use of Scottish dialect and old middle English adds to the realistic local feel of this story. Gil Cunningham is studying law in 1400s Scotland, headed for the priesthood because his family backed the wrong royal, and reliant upon the generosity of his uncle. When a woman is found dead within the church grounds, Gil ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a quick light mystery set in medieval Glasgow. The main character is a young lawyer, well he's 26 but he reads relatively young. He also comes across as smart and wise so young does not equate to immature. He's still trying to figure out the next steps in his life which seem to be becoming a priest so he has some income. Apparently it isn't common at this time and place in history to make money as a lawyer.

A young woman is killed and it's tragic. She was a good person who had been done
Aug 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Murder in the cathedral in medieval Glasgow
At the May Day dancing at Glasgow Cross, Gilbert Cunningham, notary-in-training, see not only the woman who is going to be murdered, but her murderer as well.
Gil is a recently qualified lawyer who family still expect him to enter the priesthood. When he finds the body of a young woman in the new building at Glasgow Cathedral he is asked to investigate -- she turns out to have been the May Day harper's mistress and runaway wife of cruel nobleman John Sem
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this, but was really glad to be reading a ePub edition. I used the dictionary feature in Overdrive a LOT and sometimes had to go to the "search Wikipedia" option. I have a feeling that I would have enjoyed the book even more were I more well versed in Scottish and "Ersche" dialects and history. I ended up skimming over the parts,that got bogged down in dialect or foreign language phrase (much as I did in "The DaVinci Code"). That said, I enjoyed the characters, the descriptions, ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third time I have read this book, and I liked it very much each time, but somehow it never stuck with me -- or rather, what stayed was the setting and the characters and their relationships, but not the actual solution to the mystery. Which is very pleasant, as it meant I did not know what was coming and could enjoy each moment of the investigation. It is not a quick book, as there is so much to set up -- Glasgow in the period, all the complex family relationships which are also poli ...more
Sara G
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book for the Disney Prince Hopefuls challenge. Simba: Read a book with a lion shifter, a character who is very protective, or a character who is in the justice system (lawyer, cop, judge, etc.).

Our protagonist, Gil Cunningham, is a lawyer training to be a priest, and approaches everything with a lawyer's methodical eye. It's set in medieval Scotland which is very well depicted here, with quite a bit of Scots words throughout to throw me off a bit. The mystery wasn't too hard to solve
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, history
Lovely, lovely, lovely 15th century Scotland-set mystery with lots of history and a good solid set of murders. Our detective has studied to be a lawyer and is destined for the priesthood (with some misgivings.) Our victim is a noble woman who ran away from her abusive husband and took up with a blind harper. The cast is full of interesting secondary characters and the setting is painted magnificently: even the bits about canon law were interesting. The characterization isn't as good as Ellis Pet ...more
Sandy Shin
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable look at life in Scotland in 1490+, I was fascinated by the roles of Catholic Church, University trained lawyers, the Stewart royal line and ho the law applied to various levels of society.

Since finishing this book, I've gone on to read the next three and find n let up on the quality of the writing, the development of characters or the attractiveness of the stories.

The most startling discovery is the sophistication of the investigative approach. Other authors (Margaret Frazer, Pe
Lexie Conyngham
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this. The settin gwas convincing, and what must have been detailed research was used with a light touch and a clear sense of affection for the background. characters were well-drawn and sympathetic, and the hero particularly interesting in his scholarship and indecision about his future. I found the conversations witty and realistic and the plot was complex and convincing. Anyone concerned by the Scots or Gaelic terms will find they are smoothly explained in the text (along ...more
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quality recreational reading. McIntosh includes just enough Medieval vocabulary and dialect to establish the atmosphere and characters, but not so much that the modern reader cannot follow the dialogue and story. In this work, at least, she does not fall into the Ellis Peters trap of giving her protagonist modern values and attitudes. Although Gilbert Cunningham is more liberal and progressive than most of the other characters, he is still a Medieval man. The resolution to the mystery is obvious ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I discovered this author when I noticed a new Ravelry group about the Gil Cunningham mysteries. They're quite different, set in 15th century Glasgow. They feel real to the period, though I know nothing about the period. Love the characters so far. There are several books in the series, so I have hours of enjoyment ahead. They're not real easy reads, tons of details, unfamiliar terms. The mystery itself was interesting, I had no idea who done it until the end. The author herself is active in the ...more
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this book but need to learn more about this era of Scottish history. The characters are well-written and we learn their history in a natural way as a reasonable part of the story. The plot was engaging and enough red herrings exist to keep a reader on her toes.

The only thing that kept this from being a five-star book for me is that I would have enjoyed it much more with either a glossary or an afterword explaining a bit more about the social mores and political climate in Scotland. A pronu
Jina Howell-Forbes
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 12th Century novels
Shelves: o-k-but-ho-hum
It took me longer than usual to finish this book. I liked it, but nothing held me particularly, and it was easy to take frequent breaks to read something else. I like Gil, the main character, and I wanted a good outcome for him, but the writing was slow and pedantic. I might continue with the series if I run low on other things to read, but I have decided that I don't like stories quite that far back in history.

The Hugh De-Singleton, surgeon series has many similarities to this Gil Cunningham s
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book with its Scottish idioms and romance flourishing amidst a murder investigation.
I must confess I read this book years back but got so hooked I have read every following Gil and Alys adventure and now need to get The Lanimer Bride.
The characters are rounded and well written and the way of life in medieval times well explained and, I found, very interesting.
Each book moves along, timewise, by only a short amount from the last and it is well worth reading the stories in sequence.
Diana Sandberg
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Excellent. Set in late-15th century Glasgow; I liked pretty much everything about this one, the characters, the plotting, the setting, all good. I even liked the romance – not too much, not too soppy, but sweet, and I liked the hero’s friendship with the girl’s father. There was some discussion online about the amount of Scots included; apparently the author’s publisher is highly resistant to such verbal oddities, and simultaneously refuses to include a glossary. Tsk. After the discussion, I was ...more
Lynne Tull
This is the first of this series. I had a hard time getting into the story with this author. There are a lot of Medieval words and expressions that are not explained. Another Medieval series that I read has a dictionary of those words and their definitions. I am hope that Ms. McIntosh adds that to the next book. It would be helpful. I do like Gil and his friends. I had more or less figured out the mystery by the end of the book. There were enough clues along the way that maybe you can solve it, ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
this was a hard book for me to get through which is why it took me so long to finish. it wasn't interesting enough to entice me to go back to it frequently, but not so boring as to force me to give up on it. setting the murder mystery in medieval times was unique and helped me to keep trodding on to learn who the murderer was. unfortunately, it was proven to be exactly who you guessed within the first chapter.
I enjoyed the storyline of this book, and the setting up of a host of new characters, but I found the 'authentic' language to be difficult to understand, even from the context. I'm a native Scot! Also I originally picked up another book in this series in my local library as they are set in Glasgow, but to be honest they could be set anywhere, as the medieval city is pretty much unrecognisable apart from a few names.
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McIntosh was born and raised in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Having begun to write at age seven, she credits the author who inspired her to write as "probably Angus MacVicar!" She lived and worked in Glasgow for many years before moving to the west coast of Scotland. Prior to making her mark as an author, she worked as "a librarian, a receptionist for an alternative therapy centre, taught geology and pa ...more
More about Pat McIntosh...

Other Books in the Series

Gil Cunningham (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Nicholas Feast (Gilbert Cunningham, #2)
  • The Merchant's Mark (Gilbert Cunningham, #3)
  • St Mungo's Robin (Gil Cunningham, #4)
  • The Rough Collier (Gilbert Cunningham, #5)
  • The Stolen Voice (Gilbert Cunningham, #6)
  • A Pig of Cold Poison (Gil Cunningham, #7)
  • The Counterfeit Madam (Gil Cunningham, #8)
  • The Fourth Crow (Gil Cunningham, #9)
  • The King's Corrodian (Gil Cunningham, #10)
  • The Lanimer Bride (Gil Cunningham #11)

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