Compelling Reading

Reviewers’ Comments about the Case of the Emigrant Niece

In the past month, the first of my Findo Gask and Erroll Rait series, the Case of the Emigrant Niece, was both awarded 5 stars and selected as a finalist in the Readers’ Choice Book Awards for 2023.  Very humbling, totally unexpected and very welcome of course.

I also finished 2 new books –  I completed the final sentence of my second book in the series, the Case of the Wandering Corpse, and finished a new venture, Arthur and the Ritis Monster.  More on that below.

I am now researching my next Gask & Rait novel – working title, The Case of the Beth-El Stone.

Readers’ Choice Book Awards

This was totally unexpected.  I had entered the competition just for the experience and, once I had submitted the book, promptly forgot about it until I was notified by the Awards Committee.  Apparently it garnered a five-star review too.  My 2 volume historical novel, The Helots’ Tale has also received 5 star reviews so I guess I now have something to live up to even though my wife thinks Bushranger Gold is my best work to date.

Several readers have reviewed the Emigrant Niece already and I know of at least one book club (in Canada) that has selected it.  Everyone has had kind words to say so that was certainly encouraging while I worked on the second novel in the series.

Here’s the Readers’ Choice review in full:

Unlikely duo, Findo and Errol, join forces to investigate the mystery of the lost inheritance.

 A historical fiction novel set in the 1800’s in Australia, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Scottish Highlands. Major Findo Gask sustains a serious leg injury at the start of the Indian mutiny in 1858, and is dispatched back to England to convalesce in a nursing home. On discharge he contemplates the next phase of his life and travels to Edinburgh to see his brother.  He starts work as a consulting engineer with a local construction firm and is offered a position as a consultant to support the booming mining industry in Melbourne. He meets Errol Rait during a cricket match and rents a room from him on 21/2 Bourke Street. He learns that Errol is a criminal investigator, testing new finger marks to identify suspects.  They meet a pretty young heiress, Mary Mitchell, and discover she has been swindled out of her inheritance. Errol decides to take on the case and Findo, keen to develop his investigative skills, decides to accompany him. With a link back to Scotland, the pair travel to Edinburgh to find the will of Mitchell’s late uncle.  The investigation takes them from Edinburgh to the Scottish Highlands where they discover multiple murders and a sinister plot.

Will Findo and Errol solve the mystery of the lost inheritance before it is too late? Will Mary receive the fortune that she rightly deserves?

The Case of the Emigrant Niece is a captivating historical fiction novel by David Cairns, set in the 1800’s and spanning Australia, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Scottish Highlands. Written in the first-person point of view, from the perspective of Findo, the book follows his journey as he builds a new life for himself in Melbourne, and partners with his friend, Errol, in a fraud investigation. The novel is a work of fiction, inspired by real people, places and events.

Extensively researched, and historically accurate, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction.

The novel has a definite Sherlock Holmes vibe, and I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, suspense and intrigue.

Star rating: 5 Stars

Summary: A Sherlock Holmes-esque mystery, with two memorable and eccentric criminal investigators.


The Wandering Corpse & the Beth-El Stone

So, while all of this was going on, I was writing the second book in the series, the Case of the Wandering Corpse.  Occurring in 1864, the story is set in Melbourne and the gold field towns to the north as the colonial outpost continues to generate fabulous wealth and begins to evolve into one of the great cities of the world.  Findo Gask becomes embroiled in a new case at the urging of Mary Mitchell and it leads to a spider’s web of intrigue and murder with a final twist at the end.  Like the ‘Niece’ and my other novels, it involved extensive research so the settings and background events are historically accurate and real characters of the time weave in and out of the story, which I hope creates more depth and veracity as the story gallops along.

I’m currently working on the cover design and plan to release the book before the northern hemisphere summer is done.

I am also beginning to research the next book in the Gask/Rait series; the working title is the Case of the Beth-El stone.  It will be set primarily in Scotland and should appeal to those who enjoy the historical setting and the thematic approach executed so well by Dan Brown with his novel, the Da Vinci Code.   More to come…

Arthur and the Ritis Monster

This is a beast of a different colour.  I began writing this 20,000 word book with the aim of involving one of my grandsons who suffers from Juvenile arthritis.  It will be published under a pen name, D.C. Galvanometer.  A short aside – you may wonder where this comes from.  As a schoolboy I would post poems and doggerel on the class notice board; some of it not complementary about certain masters.  I used the pen name to stay anonymous.  The cane was still in use then!  A direct current galvanometer was the earliest instrument created to measure electrical current and we had one in our physics lab.  The DC, of course, alluded to my initials…  I hasten to add that it was invented long before my schooldays.

This book started as a story that was a play on Arthritis and the idea was and is that any proceeds will go to Arthritis charities.  It’s an adventure story set in a fictional land that is recovering from the Great Exit and follows Arthur’s quest to save his friend, Ellen, who has been seized by the Ritis dragon and carried away.  He is joined by his friend, Elliott and together they venture fearlessly into unexplored lands to rescue Ellen.

As I find always happens, the story took on a life of its own and became not just a children’s adventure but also a political satire.  Those who live in the UK or follow UK politics may vaguely recognise the Palace of Wastemonster, the Prime Minister Lord Boris de Pfibber, Jacob Rhys-Cat, Domino Goings, Richie Stopgap, Marty Partyman and the members of the Party party, the parliamentary debates…. Order, Order!!

More to come.

Stay well, stay safe.