Fire in the Barley, Dan Mallett Investigations Saphere Books copyright and written by Roger Longrigg writing as Frank Parrish.
The plot of this book places the reader in a typical British setting with the protagonist a handyman son of a gamekeeper/poacher. Dan Mallett is an unusual young man who completed schooling and worked successfully in the business world to please his mother until she finally suffered so severely from arthritic hips as to need a greater degree of physical help. He left to follow the life he loved and had learned from his father. He became the local repair/maintenance man for the area providing for the constant needs of locals while having more time to care for his mother. Unfortunately, he also followed his father’s tendency toward poaching and even theft, if needed, which kept him constantly under the watchful eye of the constabulary. As yet, nothing had been proven against the well-liked young man, but when a series of vicious crimes begin under the guise of paying for ‘protection of one’s property’, Dan is the obvious main suspect. The story evolves as he extracts himself from any involvement in the criminal activity. Presentation of further details of the intelligent manner in which he reasons with his extensive knowledge of the land, its people and wildlife, would be a disservice to prospective readers.
Discussion: The author has set forth a fascinating tale that takes place in a rural area of Scotland. The protagonist’s knowledge of the terrain, its wildlife and the residents of area, plus his intellectual ability to search out and amalgamate the manner in which the facts and activity intermesh present an unusual tale of mystery. The pace and setting may not be acceptable to some, but I believe most readers who enjoy mystery stories will enjoy this book.
5* Enjoyable, well-thought-out and acceptably presented Mystery.