PERSONAL: Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Education: Graduate of Glasgow University.
“GIL CUNNINGHAM” MYSTERY SERIES
The Harper’s Quine, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2004.
The Nicholas Feast, Constable (London, England), 2005.
The Merchant’s Mark, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2006.
St. Mungo’s Robin, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2007.
SIDELIGHTS: Pat McIntosh is the author of a series of mystery books featuring protagonist Gil Cunningham and set in Medieval Scotland. In the first novel in the series, The Harper’s Quine, Cunningham is undergoing legal training but ultimately wants to become a priest and notary, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Canon David Cunningham. When a local landowner’s wife leaves him because of abuse and takes up with a musician, she later turns up dead on a construction site. Gil begins investigating the case, with the primary focus on the woman’s husband, John Semphill, and his new love, the also brutal Lady Euphemia Campbell. In the meantime, Gil meets a mason’s daughter, Alys, who is starting to turn his eye away from the priesthood. “Lovers of quality historicals will welcome McIntosh’s debut,” wrote a reviewer in Publishers Weekly.A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented: “In spite of all the violence, the affectionate family relationships and warm characterizations shine most brightly here: a charming plaid debut.”
Gil returns in The Nicholas Feast and has left his goal of entering the priesthood behind as he is now engaged to Alys. Attending the Nicholas Feast at Glasgow University, Gil is asked to help solve a crime when the unlikable William Irvine, a bastard member of the Montgomery clan, is found strangled. Gil soon finds that Irvine was a blackmailer with plenty of enemies and begins to unravel the case by decoding Irvine’s shorthand notebook with the help of Alys. A subplot involves Gil’s mother trying to convince him not to marry. “A satisfying story, studded with tidbits of medieval custom, hearty as a raisin scone,” wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Rex E. Klett, writing in the Library Journal, referred to The Nicholas Feast as “a nicely involving historical, well-written and tidily plotted.” In a review on the Shots Magazine Web site, Ayo Onatade wrote that the mystery is “just as good” as the author’s debut, adding: “The characters are well drawn and a lot more fleshed out in this second book.”
The Merchant’s Mark features Gil involved in a book import business. However, when he and his partner, the merchant Augie Morison, receive their shipment of books, they also find a man’s head in a barrel of brine along with a treasure in a leather pouch. When Augie is accused of murder, Gil sets out to solve the case. Margaret Flanagan, writing in Booklist, commented that the author “provides an intelligent, authentic, and suspenseful historical whodunit.” A Kirkus Reviewscontributor called the mystery “a convincing tale of loving families and brutal killers that delves deep into medieval Scottish life.” A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the author’s “characterizations and period detail are first-rate.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, June 1, 2006, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Merchant’s Mark, p. 44.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2004, review of The Harper’s Quine, p. 607; May 15, 2005, review of The Nicholas Feast, p. 565; May 15, 2006, review of The Merchant’s Mark, p. 499.
Library Journal, July, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of The Harper’s Quine, p. 63; July 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of The Nicholas Feast, p. 57.
Publishers Weekly, July 12, 2004, review of The Harper’s Quine, p. 47; May 15, 2006, review of The Merchant’s Mark, p. 51.
Shots Magazine, http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (December 31, 2006), Ayo Onatade, review of The Nicholas Feast.