Mathew's Tale

Written by Quintin Jardine

Review written by Jennifer Palmer

Jennifer Palmer has read crime fiction since her teenage years & enjoys reviewing within the many sub-genres that now exist; as a historian who lectures on real life historical mysteries she particularly appreciates historical cime fiction.

Mathew's Tale
RRP: £13.99
Released: October 23, 2014
Trade Pbk

Mathew Fleming is a tough Scot who has fought for seven years in the Napoleonic Wars until sustaining 2 serious wounds from which he has recovered though he is left badly scarred.  He returns to Lanarkshire in 1818 to his mother and fiancée to find himself a ghostly presence. 

Though he cannot pursue his intended direction  he can and does use his ability as a clever craftsman in leather and he proves to be a very able businessman.  He invests in the new industries involving textiles and steam power and succeeds well. 

Unfortunately  a friend and employee of his falls foul of the legal system when a man is shot in the village.  The legal system in Edinburgh proves to be shakily corruptible as the powerful people involved endeavour to trump the interests of justice.  But Mathew is not without influence and manages to work towards justice in his own way.

This is more of a tale of a man's life and work interrupted by a crime than a traditional story to find the guilty party and, as such, it makes inspiring reading.  I enjoyed the development of  Mathew with his valuable personal and craftsman abilities in this highly important period of British history.  It really shows the opportunities offered by the Industrial Revolution to men of the new sort with skill and the willingness to take risks.  The characters around Mathew Fleming are well-drawn whether for or against him and his progress is a fascinating one to follow with his intentions often veiled from his friends and protagonists.

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