I read The Blackhouse (2009), the first book in Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy a few years ago, and I thought it was a solid police procedural whose main attraction was the setting: The beautiful but desolate Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The detective, Fin Macleod, is currently stationed in Edinburgh, but the return to his hometown is complicated by tragedies both past and present. I made a mental note to check back in with the trilogy at some point.
The Chessmen (2014) brings some closure to Fin’s story, while leaving the reader enough hints to project into the future for the people on the Isle of Lewis. May once again pulls past mysteries together with the present to create a web of memory and danger that doesn’t seem to care who it ensnares. In this case, Fin takes a job investigating a privately owned hunting estate’s poaching problem. His task is complicated when he learns that a childhood friend may be the responsible party, and another childhood friend, long missing, turns up quite definitely dead and murdered to boot. I found the by-now-familiar melding of past and present storylines to be well-paced, though there’s a bit more jumping back and forth in time than is my usual taste.
Ultimately, I finished The Chessmen feeling satisfied with the story that May had told across all three books. They fit together beautifully, managing to advance the storyline without too much rehashing previous events. The only unanswered question I was left with was when I’ll be able to make my own visit to what sounds like a beautiful part of the world.