Book of the Week: ‘The Orkney Scroll’

The Orkney Scroll: An Archaeological Mystery

Lyn Hamilton

2006, 261 pages



Toronto antiques dealer Lara McClintock is asked by a wealthy client to authenticate a rare Mackintosh writing cabinet (as in Glasgow’s famous architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh). Lara thinks it is genuine, but wants to do some research to make sure. But before she can do so, the client buys the piece. When later it appears to be a fake, and a murder takes place, Lara decides to investigate.

Lara sets out partly to restore her reputation, but she is also disturbed by the murder and not convinced of the suspect’s guilt. Her trip leads her to the remote Orkney Islands. The Orkneys are an archipelago of the northeastern coast of Scotland, where the islanders identify more with their Viking ancestors than present day Scots.

The story starts with a tale of Bjarni the Wanderer, a Viking. The first words are:

“Before he went mad, Bjarni the Wanderer hid the cauldron in the tomb of the orcs.” That’s a pretty intriguing first line. The storyteller asks how anyone could resist such a tale? If you try it, you’ll find Lara to be a funny, smart and brave amateur detective who’s going down a path with many twists and turns.

Lyn Hamilton wrote 11 archaeological mysteries. So if you enjoy this one, there are more hunts for ancient relics in exotic places that you can take!

Robbin BaileyConcord Public Library

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Author: Insider Staff

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