Fellowship with Demons (Murray of Letho 5) by Lexie Conyngham

Murder in the capital…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

fellowship with demonsCharles Murray of Letho is back in Edinburgh for this 5th book in Lexie Conyngham’s fine series. Charles is asked by Viscount Melville, one of the most important men in Scotland, to find out if there is something not quite right about the family of Rose Ronaldson, as one of his young relatives is hoping to marry her. Since Melville is one of the most important men in Scotland, this is not a request Charles can refuse. Rose’s brother is about to appear as a witness in what seems like a straightforward murder trial, so Charles attends the proceedings in the hope of scraping an acquaintance. However, Charles has a nose for murder and he suspects there may be more behind this one than comes out in evidence. And when the killer is then murdered himself, Charles’ suspicions are well and truly aroused…

Conyngham writes very well and her characterisation is very strong. Murray is now established as the head of his family and at the age of 26 is thinking it might be time to find a wife. His father’s old friend Alester Blair appears again in this book, likeable and eccentric as ever as he provides advice and assistance to the younger man. And as always we get to see what happens below stairs too, where the butler Robbins is having to cope with the frailties of the elderly housekeeper Mrs Chambers.

edinburgh castleBut what sets Conyngham apart is the authenticity of her depiction of post-Enlightenment Scottish society, and in each book she shows us a different aspect. She mixes historical fact and real people so seamlessly into her fictional stories that it’s impossible to see the join. In this story, we are given an inside picture of the militia stationed in Edinburgh Castle, where French prisoners from the Napoleonic Wars are being held. There are shades of Austen, or perhaps Georgette Heyer, as we are shown the officers and young ladies attending balls and concerts, and anxious mothers trying to find suitable husbands for their daughters; but all contrasting with the darker elements of the story – drinking clubs, family secrets and, of course, murder.

This is an excellent and well-plotted addition to the series – I only got to the solution at roughly the same time as Charles. It could be read as a standalone but to get the most out of the characters I’d suggest reading the books in order starting with Death in a Scarlet Gown. The series is as good as any historical crime I’ve read (including Shardlake) and in my opinion deserves a wider readership than it gets. Highly recommended.

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46 thoughts on “Fellowship with Demons (Murray of Letho 5) by Lexie Conyngham

  1. You actually solved the mystery? 😯 The professor is never able to solve any mystery he reads. Never. Ever.

    It seems like an interesting read–save the Austen…stuff. Though, the professor was just recently compared to her…

    (I’m really enjoying Baskervilles! Holmes is an interest–in a good way!)

    • Are you? 😀 Ooh, I’m so pleased!!

      I only solved it at the very end – which doesn’t really count…

      And did you throw knives at the person who made that comparison? 😉

      • Yes, I am! Holmes character is fabulous. Much better than Nigel…

        It’s really better than I can do… I’m excitedly awaiting the reviews on the books you’re currently reading.

        Goodness no! Maybe the professor took it as a bit of a compliment…?

        • Really? Holmes is more brilliant, but I bet Nigel is more fun at a Christmas party…

          Really? You may have some wait – I’ve barely started either of them…

          Really? Do I sense a certain softening of attitude? I’m sure it was meant as a compliment (and well-deserved), but you better be careful that Mr Twain doesn’t beat you over the head with…

          • At a Christmas party…? Of course, he mightn’t be able to find the party without his guide.

            Oh yes. Really. I doubt it’ll be a long wait. FF reads quicker than the professor, and quicker than…BigSister!

            That’s true. But I think I may beat Mr. Twain over the head for a few instances… Well, I actually agreed to read P&P because this certain person agreed to read Connecticut Yankee… So maybe a ripio soon–or we shall see…

            • 😆 Oh, that Nigel! I thought you meant Nigel Bruce, the famous Watson! No, I agree I’d rather dance with Holmes than that Nigel…

              Good for this certain person! I must study his/her technique, having signally failed to persuade/bribe you into it myself…just think, if I’d been as tough a negotiator, you’d have had to read Sense & Sensibility as well… 😉

              Anyway, for whatever reason you’re reading it, I hope you find you enjoy it after all – there’s much more to it than just the gorgeous Darby.

            • I’d rather dance with neither…

              Well, it probably won’t work again. The professor was in an awkward situation, you see. I do believe that you really didn’t try to bribe the professor because you knew that a rip was sure to follow.

              I’m not sure. I can’t really think of anything of interest… A family of girls trying to find Darbys. It looks bleak. I do hope someone dies…

            • It’s about…er…pride and…er…prejudice. With a look at society’s different treatment of women to men, about how hard it was for them to survive without marriage since property passed down the male line. And Lizzie really didn’t fall in love with his smouldering eyes – it’s about discerning character despite snobbery and class prejudice. And it’s moving in parts, and very funny in parts and there’s lots of gorgeous descriptive writing and great eccentric characters. Oh, and they ALL wear red sunglasses… 😎

              I didn’t try to bribe the professor because I spend half my life (perhaps more) trying to wriggle out of books other people think I’ll just love…and anyway I was busy trying to get you to read Holmes. I’m firmly expecting a ripio of Baskervilles… 😉

            • Hmm…someone is making fun of the professor. Titles aren’t always telling, you know.

              I can tell that you like it lots… And I have to admit, the red sunglasses are definitely an interest.

              The professor definitely understands that! You should have just told BigSister! (Oh, the professor is so bad!)

              There will be a ripio, since the professor rips books that he enjoys too!

            • 😆 I really wasn’t – I was attempting to make fun of my own inability to find a way to describe the book without using the words in the title. Apologies that it came over wrongly!

              Yes, I do like it lots but honestly I’m not at all convinced that you will, despite the red sunglasses. But if you’ve decided to read it, then I hope you do enjoy it…

              😯 So bad!

              Can’t wait…I might have to ripio the ripio though! 😉

            • 👿

              😀

              😈

              PS Did you know that Ms Austen has been selected to appear on British banknotes? That proves she’s better than Mr Twain – unless of course he’s appeared on American ones?

            • Are you serious? Maybe she is, but not on greenbacks, so there’s no glory!

              Austen suffered from bad grammar all the way around! It’s a fact! If you read the editions that Mr. Twain read, you might not like her too much either! As a matter of fact, it might make you want to beat her over the head with both her femurs!

            • Greenbacks? Is that some form of colonial thing? Or are we talking about Nessie again? If so, I’m hardly surprised Ms Austen wasn’t on them – most unladylike! However, in Mr Twain’s case, it was surely very unheroic of him to refuse.

              I take it you mean she didn’t use American grammar? Did she spell color wrong too? I admit I don’t think she once said ‘Dad fetch it!’ – a sad omission… (though I suspect Lizzie may have muttered ‘Wowawee’ under her breath during the lake scene).

            • It would be unfair of me to tell you…spoil all the suspense… 😉

              Anyway, what have you got against the (possibly hypothetical) lake scene? Have you started it yet?

              Poor C-W-W! But look on the bright side! You’ll be able to do the best ripio ever…

            • Well… Gee! That’s not fair! When can you tell me?

              Well, if there is a lake scene, the ripping would be fierce, and I would suggest you cover your eyes when you come to it. I hope you just look away. When I get my hands on it…well, I just hope you look away, that’s all. 😉

              Yes, but I’ll probably be ripioed in turn…plus, the person reading Twain will probably rip him out of spite…

              Spitz is in a very serious position here….rip P&P or spare Twain?

            • Well…I think you should go for it! As the RipioMaster even if the Twain-reading person rips, his/her rip will be nowhere near as ripping as your rip – and the femur-wielding Twain sounds like he can look after himself anyway!

              But I do get the impression that a goodly proportion of your fanbase may be staunchly pro-Darby, so I would suggest you may want to think about protective headgear…I am going femur hunting tomorrow in preparation.

              (PS Could you please advise if this person is female or male to make my sentence construction easier? P&P fan – I’m guessing female…)

              Oh…and there’s always the chance s/he might actually like Twain…

            • You are too kind to this ripioing professor! 😀

              Well, don’t take Nessie’s…or BigSister’s… 🙂

              Her name is actually Miss Tiffany. I’m just sure you can find her on my blog. She loves Darby, but I think she likes Superman better.

              I don’t think she likes Twain…

            • Hmm…I wasn’t a Twain fan particularly myself till I was forced…no, no, I mean encouraged…to try again by a certain Prof Spitz…and now look at me – reading them voluntarily! Maybe you’ll be so thrilled by Jane you’ll want to read them all… 😉

              Have I mentioned that, though I love Darby and Lizzie very much, actually my favo(u)rite Austen is Sense and Sensibility? I think – it changes from time to time…don’t like Emma much though.

            • Found the conversation – hmm! looks to me like the Professor didn’t put up much of a fight…perhaps subconsciously he was looking for an excuse to read it… 😯

            • Oh, that would be ghastly! (You have to read Connecticut Yankee next.)

              Darby isn’t your favourite?! 😎 How would Darby take this? Liz prefers…who is the guy in S&S…over him?

              I will begin P&P soon. I’ll keep you posted if you want. (Still enjoying Holmes. 🙂 )

            • Can’t! Got to read Huck Finn next, but I’ve got a few books I must read for review before that. Then Connecticut Yankee….later!

              It’s not really the men in S&S (one’s a bit wimpy and the other is very sweet, but neither of them is swoon material), it’s the story and the female characters, particularly Eleanor. Darby’s my main man by miles in Austen terms…

              Yes, I’d love to be kept posted 😀 – in fact, we’ve talked about it so much I’m feeling I may be forced to re-read it myself…

            • I was already worn down by the strong desire to do a ripio. Plus she was going to read a Twain. She also compared this poor professor to Austen. Besides, I knew you’d enjoy it. 🙂

            • 😆 You know me too well, dear Prof! I most certainly will enjoy it!!

              I’d have thought you’d have been horrified to be compared to Ms Austen…I’d never have dared!

            • So I see! It seems to me Miss Tiffany handled you very well! Though personally I see no comparison between that creature and my Darby! 😉

              And I’d be very careful – I suspect Sonya is planning to make you read more of Sir Arthur’s histories… 😆

            • You need to develop a technique for saying no! Or you’ll be spending the next ten years ploughing through books you hate… 😆

              He is a bit like Collins, which makes it all the worse that you tried to make me believe he was the Darby of Punchy Lands!

              Got to sleep now – night-night!

            • Oh, did you, indeed?! Well, I’ll pay you back just when you least expect it… 😈

              I found a review of P&P for you – see my great blogs widget. See? It’s not just for girlies…

            • Now, you be sweet–just like the professor!

              That young man should be throwing knives, reading Robin Hood, and searching for worms!

              He seemed to identify with Darby…you identify with Lizio…I think the professor will identify with Wickham. I’m almost sure that he was the good one after all.

            • For someone who’s never read it, you seem incredibly familiar with the story. I fear I must assume you too have watched Mr Firth emerge from the lake many, many times…

              Searching for worms…hmm! Another intriguing glimpse into the weird and wonderful professorish life…

              PS I’m always sweet! 😈

            • Well, this professor is beginning to wonder if the P&P film you saw only had one repeating scene: Darby coming out of the waterhole! You always seem to remember that part particularly and nothing else.

              Searching for worms is a pastime that was abandoned awhile ago; but it did teach the professor valuable life lessons.

              😎

            • 😆 Poor worms!!

              Ooh, no! I also have very fond memories of the proposal…and the dance scene…(sigh!) very, very fond…and the scene where Darcy smoulders at Lizzie as she helps Georgiana with the piano music…and the proposal…and the very last scene…but that would be a spoiler! Did I mention the proposal?

            • Ooh, yes..the dancing! Wowawee!!!

              Darby deserved to be made to feel awkward – insufferable! (But even awkward, he managed to look adorable…irresistible! He wouldn’t have had to ask me twice…)

  2. Hmmm, let’s see… a good set of characters, an authentic depiction of an interesting historical period…a good mystery… Yup! This one ticks all the boxes :-)- Thanks for the fine review and the reminder of this series.

  3. That’s one of the things I really like about this series – the characters do develop in a quite believable way. Must have been interesting to read this after your enlightenment horror.

    • Yes, there was one point a couple of books back when I thought she was going to bring Charles and Mary together, but I’m glad to see she’s not done so – that would have rung completely false.

      And again yes – though she doesn’t emphasise the whole Enlightenment thing as much as she did in the first book.

  4. Once again, thank you so much for your reviews and your support! Yes, we small authors keep plugging away in our little way, but at least we keep our independence, choose our own titles and design our own covers (I have to keep telling myself these things sometimes)!

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