The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean – 20 Books of Summer

The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean  (S.G. MacLean) was first published in 2008. It’s one of my 20 Books of Summer.

The setting is the town of Banff, Scotland in 1626. It’s 10 o’clock at night and two whores are searching the pockets of a man that they have found lying in the street, but they find nothing. When they realise that the man is ill, not just drunk, they drag him to the schoolhouse where the teacher lives, hoping that he will be able to help the man, but they didn’t stay to speak to the teacher, they were worried about getting involved. In the morning the man is found dead, and it seems he must have been poisoned.

The teacher – Alexander Seaton – had trained for the ministry, but he had been denounced as a sinner, unfit for the job, when the dead body was found he was obviously going to be under suspicion.

Seaton sets about investigating the death, it’s a time of witch hunts and extreme religious fervour, a dangerous mixture.  I really enjoyed this one, it is very atmospheric. Maps feature in the storyline, apparently at that time maps were rare and most people had never seen one, so anyone in possession of one is suspect. I must admit that it’s something I hadn’t really thought about

2 thoughts on “The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean – 20 Books of Summer

  1. This sounds good (I think you and I sympathize with underdogs). How did you come across it? I bet some of our 20 Books of Summer have a story behind them!

    I hadn’t thought about Banff being a Scottish word or place but my nephew spent the winter in Banff, Canada as a ski instructor.

    • Constance,
      Scots are always on the side of the underdogs! So many Scots went to Canada, or were sent to Canada during the Highland Clearances, and wherever they settled they named the places after their old home towns or the nearest big place.
      I’ve been reading books by S.G. MacLean recently and I discovered that her earlier books were written under the name Shona MacLean, so I’m starting on those ones now. Apparently her uncle was the thriller writer Alastair MacLean.

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