Book Review: Fate and Fortune: a Hew Cullen Mystery # 2 by Shirley McKay (four stars)
‘Your greenness does you credit, I confess. I will be almost sad to see it clouded by experience. Nonetheless, you want to lose a little of that trust.’
By far McKay’s best Hew Cullen book yet. More complex plot combines with her signature deep character conflicts propels the story forward. Leavened with humor and affection.
‘Do you wish for the convolute answer, or the straight one?’ ‘Giles, you have never given a straight answer in your life.’
Unlike Books 1 and 3, Fate and Fortune highlights the prejudices and incivility of sixteenth-century Scotland. Hew’s rank and humanity are casually stripped away by officialdom and amateurs. His modern sensibilities crash into a stone wall of status quo.
‘Do not give way to bitterness. It is more vicious than the pox, and infectious to the core.’
McKay skillfully reveals the villains as Hew remains clueless. Good read.
‘He died,’ Hew whispered wretchedly, ‘and I did not know him.’ ‘And perhaps you never will,’ his friend allowed. ‘Yet we may judge a man as much by how he dies, as how he lives. And a good death, in part, is measured not by how we die, but by what we leave behind.’