In The Avalon Chanter, Lillian Stewart Carl takes readers to the far distant corner of England to small Farnaby Island, an island shrouded in stories as thick as the local fog. And, for most of the mystery, Jean Fairbairn and her husband, Alasdair Cameron, are caught up in local stories that cover up secret affairs and murder.
Jean and Alasdair planned to meet up with friends on the island, and Jean was to cover the story of another academic, archaeologist Maggie Lauder, who hoped to open a tomb, and prove the island was the Avalon where Arthur was taken after his death. Instead, when Jean and her ex-cop husband arrived, they find Maggie has called it all off. But, the couple is always curious and stubborn. When they find their way to the site, they discover Maggie guarding a twentieth century corpse, not a mythical one.
But, Maggie is guarding her mother's secrets, as well as trying to save her own reputation. The police officer who shows up to investigate has a history with Maggie. Is it Maggie's history, the detective's, or Maggie's mother's that leads to murder? And Jean and Alasdair are stuck on the island, knowing a killer may be there as well, someone who knows the island's history better than they do.
Ghosts, legends, and families caught up in dramas of ill-fated romances and murder. Carl brings her knowledge of Arthurian legend and early British history to a mystery set on an island known for its music. As Jean Fairbairn and Alasdair Cameron methodically track a killer, they also uncover the secrets that are entwined in the lives of the islanders.
The Avalon Chanter is a complex story that would have benefited from a list of characters since relationships are complicated, including some people who have one name and an Arthurian association as well. At times, I was as lost in the fog as Jean and Alasdair. If you can keep all the characters straight, The Avalon Chanter unfolds slowly to reveal the tragic effects of past history.
Lillian Stewart Carl's website is www.lillianstewartcarl.com
The Avalon Chanter by Lillian Stewart Carl. Five Star. 2014. ISBN 9781432828042 (hardcover), 332p.
FTC Full Disclosure -The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.