By P F Chisholm

(first in the Carey series)

Carlisle, 1592.

The only law on the Scottish border is the elegant Sir Robert Carey newly appointed Deputy Warden and his seven dubious henchmen.

His first case is dealing with the corpse of the youngest, dearest and most violent member of the notorious Graham clan. And then there is the question of the horses. Hundreds of horses being stolen from all over the Border.

Refreshing, startling. Sunday Telegraph

First page sample:

Sunday, 18th June 1592, noon.

Henry Dodd let the water drip off the end of his nose as he stared at a trail in the long sodden grasses. It was simple enough: two horses, both burdened, though from a long slide mark by a little hump he thought the bigger of the two was carrying a pack rather than being ridden by a man who could have avoided it. The prints kept close enough for the one to be leading the other.

He looked up and squinted at the low hills north of the border where the Picts’ Wall ran. They melted into the grey sky so it seemed there was no difference between the earth and the cloud and a lesser man might have made comparisons between them and the area of moss and waste between, where the purely theoretical change between England and Scotland took place.

Sergeant Henry Dodd, hoever, had no time for such fancyings. He was mortally certain that the two men, or possibly one and a packhorse, had been where they had no business to be, and he wanted to know why.

Blinking intently at the traces, he turned his horse and let her find her own path amongst tussocks and rabbit holes, following the trail before it was washing into mud.

Behind him his six patrolmen muttered into their chests and followed in sodden misery. They had been on the way home to Carlisle from a dull inspection of the forde on the River Sark when the Sergeant had seen the trail and taken it into his head to follow it. By the time they got to the guardroom, Lowther’s men would have taken the best beer and the least stale loaves and if there was cheese or meat left, it would be a wonder.


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