I sit on the bench for a minute and stare up at the statue of Queen Victoria. In this light she bears more than a fleeting resemblance to Isa Stoddart. Neither of them were ever amused.
A Fine House in TrinityÂ by Lesley Kelly, is an entertaining twist on the traditional mystery.Â When Joseph Staines returns to Edinburgh after a six week absence, no one is pleased to see him. Heâ€™d been given a large sum of money in exchange for making the feared Isa Stoddartâ€™s tally book, and himself, disappear. But when he receives a call from a Miss Spencely telling him that heâ€™s the sole beneficiary to the Stoddart estate, he knows heâ€™s made the right decision. The only trouble is that heâ€™s not the only one with his eye on the inheritance.
The Stoddart family ran a renowned criminal empire in Edinburgh.Â Their matriarch, Isa, took over the business after her husband, Guthrie, mysteriously disappeared. When sheâ€™s murdered, everything is left to their son, Lachie. But Lachieâ€™s death quickly follows, leaving many to believe that Stainesâ€”Lachieâ€™s right hand manâ€”is the killer. Isaâ€™s many debtors now fear for their lives.
But Staines hasnâ€™t just returned for the money. Everyone he knows is in Edinburgh and heâ€™s spent most of his life in the city. A life which has been fueled by drink, drugs and a general sense of apathy. Will Staines redeem himself and make good on his promise to find Isaâ€™s killer, thereby freeing the lovely Marianne, or will he fail as usual?
Written in first person and alternating between past and present, Kelly skillfully shows us who Staines once was, and who he hopes to be, if only he can summon up the courage.
A Fine House in Trinity is a compelling mystery brimming over with sharp wit, keen observation and peppered throughout with fascinating titbits of Leith history.
Published by Sandstone Press.