Review Blog

Jan 04 2018

I'll keep you safe by Peter May

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781784294946
(Age: secondary - adult) Recommended. Themes: Crime fiction, Scotland, Outer Hebrides, Harris Tweed, Weaving, Fashion industry. In the midst of the most important sales fair for his product, Ramish Tweed, Rory Macfarlane is killed, blown up in his car in the streets of Paris, with his lover, Irina Vetrov. His wife, Neave who has accompanied him to the fair, is mind numbingly shocked, especially when she is questioned as a possible suspect. She is eventually allowed to leave Paris and return home to the Isle of Lewis with a child's coffin containing what is left of her husband of ten years, the man who as a teen saved her life, promising to always keep her safe.
Upon return, she must put the funeral arrangements in place while dealing with her always bitter mother in law while an old school friend, Seonag, initially offering comfort outstays her welcome after slipping into her bed one night. Neave's parents have refused to attend the funeral, harking back to an incident which took the life of their younger son, while the arrival of Lieutenant Braque from Paris stirs the pot even further, with simmering tensions between the islanders forming a fascinating part of the mix.
With Braque working with Inspector Gunn on the island, trying to piece together some of the disparate clues, Neave returns home to her beautiful house, built by the couple intending to live out their lives there. Remote, but high on cliffs overlooking the ocean near a small bothy they built for walkers, the house is a stunning part of the backdrop to this novel, and it is to this house that Neave returns after the funeral, there to unknowingly confront the murderer, a murderer who has already killed Lt Braque.
As with Peter May's other stories, particularly the Lewis Trilogy and Coffin Road, the setting is tantamount to the story, the cold and bleak islands of the Outer Hebrides, a metaphor for the windswept, barren relationship between many of the protagonists. Readers will get a feel for the weavers in their crofts, looking back to a time when most crofts had a loom and the noise of its working would fill the days.
This is a highly readable and enjoyable crime novel, set in the bleak Hebridean landscape. Full of the sights and sounds of the people and their customs, language and traditions, I'll keep you safe is a story bound to further enhance the numbers of crime fiction tourists now visiting Scotland's shores.
Fran Knight

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