Book Review: Secret of the Old Tower
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
Unexplained murders, family feuds, and rolling hillsides: Secret of the Old Tower offers a vivid and compelling mystery set in historic Scotland
Angus is back in Carol Amorosi’s second installment of the MacKay Mystery Series, Secret of the Old Tower.
After an eventful five years in America, Angus returns to London with a longing for purpose. As his ambitions to continue working with his pals Mason and Dixon are quickly brought to a halt, he is given a new opportunity to become a licensed surveyor based on his previous work. This news, paired with a longing to return to his homeland of Scotland are where we find Angus in the second Mackay series installment.
If you remember anything about Angus, you’ll know that he’s never too far from trouble.
Upon arriving in Scotland, he almost immediately stumbles upon a dead body, and the murder mystery begins. In this book, Angus fights to clear his name, to find the true culprit, and to come to terms with the land and family he left many years ago.
As mysterious murders begin to happen in his old stomping ground, he’s once again in the hot seat, looking for a way to explain the mysterious events that seem to follow him across the world. This forces Angus to put his detective hat back on, much like in the last book, and figure out what exactly is happening in his hometown.
Author Carol Amorosi gave us a lot to love in the first book in the series, and this second book certainly does not disappoint. She’s created characters any reader would love, and following Angus back to Europe feels like the perfect way to start this new story.
No longer the inexperienced boy he left as, he returns home a man, feeling the loss of those he’s grown to love back in a place thousands of miles away. Because of this, home feels different now. It’s inspiring to watch him work through this all too familiar trial of “you can’t go home again.”
Expect a smilier type of mystery as the previous book, as Angus is once again stumbling upon a dead body in a foreign place. With so may new characters, it’s difficult to figure out who to trust; suspense and mystery are riddled throughout the pages. Angus finds companions in his cousin and a new friend, but there are other family members and locals that he has to prove himself to. Clearing his name isn’t easy, but Angus is determined to do so—and to find the person responsible for causing the death and paranoia the town is experiencing.
The change of location is a breath of fresh air. Amorosi so vividly describes historic Scotland. It’s easy to get a good idea of how stunning the area is, especially during a time that was less touched by the modern conveniences of today.
Amorosi also delves into fascinating Scottish folklore and even architecture in these historic towns. The historical elements are some of my favorite bits in Secret of the Old Tower, a similar feeling I had with book one. You can tell Amorosi does thorough research and has a passion for the subject matter.
One thing that readers may miss is the professional side of Angus’s life. After helping to create the famous Mason/Dixon line, you might expect some other great professional goal to be in the cards for Angus. While he sits in a bit of a professional limbo, we lose a some of the intriguing details of the work he did in the first book. As these two stories often feel similar in terms of events, at times this one feels more thinned out without this secondary professional storyline.
Amorosi mixes mystery, crime, and history with compelling prose in Secret of the Old Tower. After an exciting turn of events at the end, I’m very much looking forward to the next book in this series.
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Print Length: 206 pages
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