Peter May gives us a two part fascinating story; one a tale involving murder, the other a love story spanning a hundred years. The two sections are woven together in the most mesmerizing fashion it has been my pleasure to read and enjoy in a long time.
Entry Island is a small piece of land, only 1 1/2 miles long and a 1 ¾ miles wide, situated in a group of small islets along the St. Lawrence River in Canada. Its population is just over 100 people who eke out a living from fishing.
The story begins with the murder of the most affluent man living there. The only suspect is his wife who was interviewed covered in blood and telling a tale of a masked man breaking into their house, attacking her also, but fleeing, leaving her dazed. Sime Mackenzie is a detective attached to the police department in Montreal under whose jurisdiction the murder falls. He is sent along to aid in the investigation as the only true English speaker in the group, which is due to residence in the French speaking Quebec province.
The investigation seems just a formality since the widow was covered in blood, and the masked intruder is seemingly something made up by her. Sime goes to question the widow and is astonished at the fact that he seems to know her from somewhere. This appears an impossibility, until his insomniac nights turn up dreams of a relationship from another time and another place. He places their relationship in Scotland in the past with both having roles to play.
A very important fact in the story is that the widow has never left Entry Island in her life, nor did her mother and grandmother. In spite of the great deal of evidence against her, Sime gets the overwhelming feeling that she is innocent. A mutual attraction develops between them with Sime doing what is his duty as a policeman but working to prove her innocent. Set in a locale that is not part of most of our experience, the novel adapts a somewhat surreal atmosphere which adds to the enjoyment felt by the reader at finding this book and an author such as Peter May.
9/15 Paul Lane
ENTRY ISLAND by Peter May. Quercus (September 15, 2015). ISBN: 978-1623656638. 544p.