Blog Tour/Book Review: The Death of a Falcon: A Muirteach MacPhee Mystery by Susan McDuffie

Welcome to one of today's stops on the Blog Tour for The Death of a Falcon, book #4 in the medieval mystery series by Susan McDuffie.

Publication Date: March 2, 2018
Liafinn Press
eBook & Paperback; 310 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Muirteach MacPhee Mystery, Book 4


Scotland, 1375: Muirteach MacPhee and his wife Mariota visit Edinburgh Castle, assisting the Lord of the Isles in his negotiations with King Robert II. A trading vessel arrives at the nearby port of Leith from the far away Norse settlement in Greenland. The ship brings unexpected diversion and carries coveted

wares: gyrfalcons, unicorn's horns, and fine furs. Both King Robert and the Lord of the Isles desire the rare birds, easily worth a king's ransom.

Muirteach and Mariota, unaccustomed to the sophistication of castle life, initially find pleasure in the heady and flirtatious glamor of the royal court. Then sudden and unexpected cruelty, followed by the senseless death of a beautiful young girl, plunge the couple into a murky sea of alliances and intrigue that stretches from Scotland across the icy western ocean to the far northern lands of the Norse, leaving trails of treachery and murder in its wake.

My Thoughts

I'd not heard of Susan McDuffie's series before being approached to participate in this blog tour. Usually book #4 of a series is not a good place to start, but the synopsis caught my attention immediately by mentioning aspects of Scottish history that I knew little about.

Most novels I've read with Scottish history as their background focus on the relationship with their southern neighbour, England. Susan McDuffie's novel refreshingly takes the reader in the opposite direction, to the north, an isolated and virtually unexplored region that fascinates those that have been there and those that haven't; hence the excitement when a ship docks in Leith with an unusual cargo of gryfalcons and unicorn's horns.

Susan McDuffie successfully transports you back in time and effortlessly weaves history and mystery together to produce a very entertaining story. The mystery element was excellent, with the identity of the murderer hidden within a number of suspects. While the clues point in a certain direction, the motive was cleverly preserved until the end.

I liked the main characters, Muirteach and Mariota. Although both seemed out of place at court, they were enjoying the experience until a death shocks the castle and their investigation uncovers the seamy side of court life. While Mariota can't wait to leave, Muirteach begins to like some aspects of court life too much, which places Mariota in danger and causes her some distress. I'm eager to read more about these two, especially the next book in the series to see how their relationship fares and how they recover from their time at court.

I'm also interested in reading books #1-3. If The Death of a Falcon is anything to go by, I'm sure to enjoy them all. I have found a new mystery series to follow.

The Death of a Falcon is available from: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound and in Australia from: Booktopia

About the Author

A fan of historical fiction since childhood, Susan McDuffie spent such vast amounts of time reading stories set in the past that she wondered if she had mistakenly been born in the wrong century. As an adult her discovery that Clorox was not marketed prior to 1922 reconciled her to life in this era. Susan’s childhood interest in Scotland was fueled by family stories of the McDuffie clan’s ancestral lands on Colonsay and their traditional role as “Keeper of the Records” for the Lords of the Isles. On her first visit to Scotland she hitchhiked her way through the Hebrides, and her initial visit to Colonsay and the Oronsay Priory ruins planted the seeds for her medieval mysteries. Those seeds have grown into the Muirteach MacPhee mysteries, set in medieval Scotland during the Celtic Lordship of the Isles. The series includes A MASS FOR THE DEAD, THE FAERIE HILLS (2011 New Mexico Book Awards “Best Historical Novel”), THE STUDY OF MURDER (New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards Finalist 2014), and THE DEATH OF A FALCON. Susan frequently presents at workshops and conferences and regularly reviews historical fiction books for the Historical Novel Society’s “Historical Novels Review.

Susan lives in New Mexico and shares her life with a Native American artist and four cosseted cats. She enjoys taking flamenco dance classes in her spare time. Susan loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via Facebook or through her website.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 16
Excerpt at Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Wednesday, April 18
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, April 20
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Wednesday, April 25
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, April 28
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, April 30
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, May 1
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, May 3
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Monday, May 7
Interview at Reading the Past

Tuesday, May 8
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, May 10
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Friday, May 11
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at CelticLady's Reviews


During the Blog Tour 5 paperback copies & 5 eBooks of The Death of a Falcon will be given away! Enter via the Gleam form HERE

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


  1. Fabulous review, Yvonne! Thank you so much for hosting Susan's blog tour & sharing your review with your readers!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me and for your wonderful review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book!

    1. You're welcome and thank you for providing me with a free copy of your book to review.