This was a wonderful little historical mystery. Its about the arrival of Sir Robert Carey to the Castle of Carlisle in the Middle March, the border between Scottland and England. And to quote the introduction, the region makes Dodge City look like a health spa.
Aside from the trouble of settling from court to border life, someone is stealing a multitude of horses for some purpose. Then there is the murder that threatens to involve the March Wardenry in a blood feud. Add in Carey's own sense of justice (and fore sightedness (both as much out of place in the Border marches as he is)), a murder of a now account Graham becomes the focal point. From there, Carey is off to try to do right, and the trouble that brings him.
Its a good book and I enjoyed it immensely, especially the exchange between Warden Sergeant Dodd and his Armstrong father-in-law over Carey's possible fate. A fun book and one I'll be keeping and re-reading like I do the Judge Dee mysteries.
A Chisholm mystery is the next best thing to time travel...For those who find the journey more compelling than the final destination, a Chisholm novel will offer an unforgettable Elizabethan pilgrimage. In the year 1592, Sir Robert Carey, a handsome courtier, comes north to Carlisle to take up his new post as Deputy Warden of the West March. He has wrangled his appointment to be nearer his true love, a married woman, and farther from the gimlet eyes of his creditors and the disapproving eye of his father (the Queen's cousin - possibly her half brother). And of course he can use the money... Sir Robert is quick to realize he won't see a profit from the perks if he fails to keep the peace. Alas, he is quickly challenged by the murder of a local lad, the possible betrayal of a dissapointed rival, the ire of the lady's husband, and the question of the horses - the hundreds of horses being stolen from all over the neighborhood. It's hard to say whether the greater danger lies without the city walls amidst the scheming Scots - or within, amidst the unruly English garrison. Rich in atmosphere and packed with vivid real and fictional characters, few novels are as well imagined or as much fun as this romp through roguish courtiers, rival gangs, rustling, treason, and high ambition. A Famine of Horses was chosen by The Drood Review as one of 1995's Best Books.
A great historical mystery set in Elizabethan times. Chisholm really brings to life the more gritty reality of the time - the mud, the stench, how long it took to travel, and the sheer brutality of it all. But this is not a grim book by any means. The dialog is packed with banter, lots of irony, a bit of romance. Carey is a very appealing main character (he was a real person, as were many of the people in this series). Sergeant Dodd and his wife Janet are also very engaging. This book has been out long enough that anyone who likes historical mysteries has probably already read it, but if not, you should.