There’s a killer on the island – but is it someone local?
West Uist, Scotland
It’s an usually busy day on the remote island of West Uist. The only transport on and off the island is the local ferry, and there is uproar when it is blocked by eco-rights activists, protesting against the shooting of seals by local fishermen.
While dealing with that disturbance, the police are amused to find a celebrity has disembarked from the ferry and is causing a stir among the locals.
But just as the demonstration is peaceably dispersed, and actor and singer Declan O’Neil is escorted away from the crowds, Detective Inspector Torquil McKinnon is called to investigate a dead body.
Fisherman Arran MacCondrum, owner of the farm that is being protested against, has been found dead in one of his fish pens, seemingly by suicide.
But with a spate of threatening poison-pen letters making their rounds on the island, it soon becomes clear that Arran’s death was not by his own hands.
Was Arran attacked by a protestor? Or was there an ulterior motive?
Torquil must unravel the mystery before anyone else on the island comes to harm…
Author Keith Moray spent some time chatting with The Big Thrill about the seventh crime thriller in his detective series featuring Inspector Torquil McKinnon, DEEP AND DEADLY:
Was there anything new you discovered or that surprised you as you wrote this book?
I do a lot of research with each book. In the Inspector Torquil McKinnon series, each novel has a separate theme. This one revolved around salmon farming, which is a lucrative industry in Scotland. However, it is controversial in its possible effect on marine ecology. The more you research, the deeper you have to explore these issues and the more you realise how deep feelings go on both sides of the arguments. Hence this novel found its title: DEEP AND DEADLY.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
I have always enjoyed crime fiction, especially novels that draw you into a puzzle. I like the challenge of picking up clues and sorting through red herrings in order to find out who did it, why, and how. I especially like novels that fool me, as long as they do it fairly .
As a doctor, I would say that the art of diagnosis is a lot like reading a crime or mystery thriller. You have to read the signs and symptoms to work out the pathological process at work and make your diagnosis.
I have also been a lifelong magic hobbyist, and there are definite similarities in performing a magic show and writing a crime novel. You have to present the effect, misdirect the audience, and then produce the answer to the surprise of the audience.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Undoubtedly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, since he gave us the blueprint for all detectives. His short stories are masterpieces of crime fiction.
Next, Robert Van Gulik, who wrote the Judge Dee novels set in ancient China. His novels introduced us to the Chinese Detective genre. Judge Dee was a magistrate during the Tang Dynasty, who with his small team of trusted assistants, two of them reformed outlaws and one a former confidence trickster, solve three separate cases in each novel. You felt transported back in time with each novel. Robert Van Gulik very much influenced my Sandal Castle Medieval Mysteries.
Agatha Christie completes my top three crime writers. No one comes close in my opinion to her in plot development. I love Death on the Nile, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and Death in the Clouds.
Keith Moray graduated in medicine from the University of Dundee and worked as a family doctor for many years.
He writes the Inspector Torquil McKinnon crime series, set on the island of West Uist.
The Gathering Murders, the first in the series, was published by Sapere Books in 2018. This has been followed by Deathly Wind, Murder Solstice, Flotsam & Jetsam, Death in Transit, and Deadly Still.
DEEP AND DEADLY is the seventh in the series, with an eight under contract.
Happily married to Rachel, they lived within arrow-shot of historic Sandal Castle, but moved in 2022 to Stratford-upon-Avon. After winning a 2006 Fish Prize with his short story, “A Villain’s Tale,” he felt compelled to write historical fiction.
In 2020, The Sandal Castle Medieval Thrillers published by Sapere Books began with The Pardoner’s Crime and The Fool’s Folly. The first novel is set during the time of King Edward 11 and was influenced by the Robin Hood tales and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It features Sir Richard Lee, sergeant-at-law, and his assistant, Hubert of Loxley. The Fool’s Folly moves to 1485, and is set during the Wars of the Roses, during the reign of King Richard 111. In 2021, two more will appear–The Summoner’s Sins and The Franklin’s Felony. They again feature Sir Richard Lee and continue where The Pardoner’s Crime left off.
His third series of historical thrillers began with Death of a Poet, set in Ptolemaic Egypt, published in late 2022. He is busy writing the next novel, Fall of a Scribe.
Keith also writes westerns as Clay More and is a past vice president of Western Fictioneers. He is also a member of Western Writers of America, Society of Authors, Crime Writers’ Association and the Medical Journalists’ Association.
Keith is represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Limited. To learn more about Keith and his work, please visit his website.