The Case of the Emigrant Niece


Star Rating: 5 Stars

Review: The Case of the Emigrant Niece,
May 2023

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

A historical fiction novel set in the 1800s 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 St. 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 1800s 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.


Extracts from The Historical Novel Society review

Review: The Case of the Emigrant Niece
“This well-constructed 19th-century tale is set in Gold Rush Australia, in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, and on ships plying between various ports. All these locations are expertly woven into the development of the solid plot and the characters’ storylines. Melbourne, particularly, is brought vividly to life as a burgeoning metropolis, struggling to transform from the chaos of the exploitation of the goldfields into one of Australia’s great cities.”

“The style of this novel has more in common with Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone than with a 21st-century publication.”

“It is hard to believe that David Cairns has written this book now, as it is so thoroughly immersed in the period and the locations in which it is set … “I relished and found (his infinite attention to meticulous detail) enchanting.”