The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy 1) by Peter May

Dark secrets…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

The BlackhouseThe novel is set on the remote island of Lewis far off the coast of northern Scotland. This is an area that the author will know well since he spent several years there producing and filming the Gaelic language TV series, Machair. This gives an authenticity to the very strong descriptions of this remote, rugged, weather-beaten corner of the British Isles. In particular, May’s description of the annual guga (gannet) hunt is fascinating both in its detail and in the light it sheds on the island community’s strong attachment to its ancient traditions.

DS Fin MacLeod is sent back to Lewis to investigate a murder that resembles one that took place earlier in his Edinburgh patch. Returning home after 20 years away, Fin is thrown into remembering and re-assessing his difficult childhood and adolescence. The book alternates between the present day and Fin’s past and it gradually emerges that the shadow of that past may be involved in the current investigation.

Peter May
Peter May
At first, I found the alternation between the present and the past irritating as it seemed to break the flow of the story. However, as the links between the two became clearer, the tension gradually mounted and came finally to an unexpected and dramatic climax. Along the way, May describes a community more inclined to deal with problems internally rather than involving the authorities, a place where the young people are beginning to challenge the traditions and strict religious observances of their elders and where dark secrets can sometimes come back to haunt.

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Amazon US Link

5 thoughts on “The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy 1) by Peter May

  1. The style of writing between past/present seems to be in vogue – have come across this in a few reads lately and I find it does distract or at the least takes me a while to assimilate the two tenses, the two stories and make sense of the narrative. It doesn’t work in all instances. “Into the Darkest Corner” By Elizabeth Haynes is an example where it does work well.


    • Yes I enjoyed that one too, though not quite as much as some people did. I’d say they both work as well as each other as thrillers, but as a long-term fan I’ve always loved Peter May’s sense of place, and in the Lewis trilogy I really feel he’s reached his peak. I was enthusiastic about this one, but the other two are even better, especially the second one, The Lewis Man. Reviews to follow!

      They’ve been huge bestsellers here in the UK, but I don’t know if they’ve made much impact elsewhere?


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