by Bill Kirton
|Historical Fiction, Romance
Aberdeen, 1841. Woodcarver John Grant has an unusual new commission – to create a figurehead to feature onstage in the nautical melodramas of a newly-arrived theatre troupe. Simultaneously, he’s also trying to unravel the mystery of the death of a young woman, whose body has been found in the filth behind the harbour’s fish sheds.
His loving relationship with Helen Anderson, which began in The Figurehead, has grown stronger but, despite the fact that they both want to be together, a conventional marriage, in which the woman is effectively the property of the husband, holds no attractions for her. She’s also challenging yet more conventions of a male-dominated society by asking her father, a rich merchant, to let her join him in his business.
The story weaves together the threads of romance, mystery, Helen’s first steps in business, the activities of the actors, and life around Aberdeen harbour. Finding resolutions to complete the tapestry is a challenge for all of them.