A Rattle of Bones by Douglas Skelton

Today Mandie concludes her Rebecca Connolly catch up with a review of Douglas Skelton’s A Rattle of Bones. We’ve both been loving this series, and you can read my thoughts on. the book right here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 05 August 2021
Publisher: Polygon

About the Book

In 1752, Seamus a’Ghlynne, James of the Glen, was executed for the murder of government man Colin Campbell. He was almost certainly innocent.

When banners are placed at his gravesite claiming that his namesake, James Stewart, is innocent of murder, reporter Rebecca Connolly smells a story. The young Stewart has been in prison for ten years for the brutal murder of his lover, lawyer and politician Murdo Maxwell, in his Appin home. Rebecca soon discovers that Maxwell believed he was being followed prior to his murder and his phones were tapped.

Why is a Glasgow crime boss so interested in the case? As Rebecca keeps digging, she finds herself in the sights of Inverness crime matriarch Mo Burke, who wants payback for the damage caused to her family in a previous case.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, A Rattle of Bones is a tale of injustice and mystery, and the echo of the past in the present.

Mandie’s Thoughts

With the book opening in 1752 at the site where Seamus a’Ghlynne, James of the Glen’s body was hung for all to see you just know that this event will have a bearing on the latest case that Rebecca Connolly finds herself reporting on. When banners start appearing at the site protesting the innocence of James Stewart of the murder of his partner local politician Murdo Maxwell Rebecca is soon smack bang in the middle of another investigation and another dangerous situation.

Rebecca has moved on from the newspaper that she worked for and is now a freelance journalist, something that suits her investigative style much better as she is no longer restricted by the stories she chases. She is still occasionally haunted by the events that took place during her last big story, more than she realises to begin with as she finds herself with a price on her head with someone out to settle a score. She no longer trusts the police, but she is aware that she needs their help as much as they need hers. 

This investigation is definitely the most intriguing one yet as there is clearly more to the story than first appears. What is evident from the start is that no one close to either the victim or James Stewart believe that James was responsible for the murder. They want the truth to be known but after the hatchet job done by the press during the investigation they are not sure they can trust Rebecca to find out what happened or to report on it fairly. What is not so evident is, was it a case of sloppy police work or did the evidence really point to only him.

What I love about these books is that there is always the voice of an unknown person threaded throughout in small chapters, that adds another layer to the story. You never know until the end who the voice belongs to all you know is that somehow what they are telling you is leading you to the truth. With each book the character of Rebecca is growing on me more and more and her personality and determination whilst getting her into dangerous situations makes her the type of person you would actually like to get to know. Then there is always the setting of Scotland itself. With each book we are treated to some truly fascinating locations and local history that just add that little bit extra and I cant wait for what comes next.

About the Author

Douglas Skelton was born in Glasgow. He has been a bank clerk, tax officer, taxi driver (for two days), wine waiter (for two hours), journalist and investigator. He has written eleven true crime and Scottish criminal history books but now concentrates on fiction. His novel Thunder Bay (2019) was longlisted for the McIlvanney Award. Douglas has investigated real-life crime for Glasgow solicitors and was involved in a long-running campaign to right the famous Ice-Cream Wars miscarriage of justice.