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Secrets of a Scottish Isle

Secrets of a Scottish Isle, April 2024
Jane Wunderly Mystery #5
by Erica Ruth Neubauer

Featuring: Jane Wunderly
304 pages
ISBN: 1496741188
EAN: 9781496741189
Kindle: B0C9W6FT7C
Hardcover / e-Book / audiobook
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"An occult circle and a poet in a 1920s Scottish mystery"

Fresh Fiction Review

Secrets of a Scottish Isle
Erica Ruth Neubauer

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted April 9, 2024

Mystery Historical

Fans of historical crime fiction in interesting locations may recall the murder at a hotel near the Great Pyramid in Cairo. The Murder at the Mena House was solved by an American socialite, Jane Wunderly. Her latest escapade sees her discovering SECRETS OF A SCOTTISH ISLE.


Off the western coast of Scotland lies the Isle of Iona, and nearby Isle of Mull. In 1927 the Order of the Golden Dawn, a mystical secret society, intends to hold ceremonies. As the order had a split, one camp was on each island. Jane is pretending to be an acolyte of Robert Nightingale, on Iona. Her fiancé, Redvers, works for a secretive organisation that needs to check out odd beliefs, practices and persons. I am sure the Home Office and police of the day would have been infiltrating such groups. Nobody was prepared for one of the parties to be found dead under suspicious circumstances.


As I’m Irish, I adore the inclusion of Nobel-winning poet and Irish Senator, W.B Yeats. He’s described as a man in his sixties, which in today’s money would be seventies. Yeats keeps his poetry to himself but plays a good strong part in the proceedings. Like Yeats and the Golden Dawn, some other aspects of the tale are genuine, and the death is based on a real mystery of the day.


The chilly walks, strong sea breeze and lack of trees on Iona and Mull are well described, with the warmth and comfort of the hostel fireplace in the evening. However, we’re told that it’s March and the ceremony is for the solstice – that should be the vernal equinox. Solstice is midwinter and midsummer. Maybe the order got their occasions confused, the veil between the worlds being thin on Iona, and people being subject to occult influences.


Erica Ruth Neubauer has departed from her earlier books about high society, with comfortable cottage living and ruined chapels the strength of SECRETS OF A SCOTTISH ISLE. But the people of the Golden Dawn were quite comfortably off, which is what creates motives and makes them worthy of general investigation. Redvers takes a back seat here as Jane is supposed to be single, but he’s not shy about telling Jane he wants her in his life. Whether you want to read about historical crime, Scotland, or Ireland, the fifth Jane Wunderly mystery will keep you entertained.

Learn more about Secrets of a Scottish Isle


The latest installment in the new Jane Wunderly Mystery series featuring an American widow turned private investigator in 1920s Europe.

Isle of Iona, 1927: Cast away on a remote locale, Jane’s latest assignment depends on concealing her identity and blending in at an occult gathering. Not even her fiancé, Redvers, can be too close as she uncovers the truth about Robert Nightingale, enigmatic leader of the Order of the Golden Dawn—a group made up of supernatural ceremonies, influential people, and an undefinable darkness. When a woman tries to escape to the mainland only to be found murdered in the moors, the shocking scene reveals it’s easier to join the Golden Dawn than it is to leave.
Jane, set on solving the crime and catching the next ferry with Redvers, realizes she may be among the few still grasping reality. One high-ranking member searches for the killer by attempting to access otherworldly planes of existence, while others become immersed in a strange solstice ritual. Then there’s Nightingale and the rivals who discarded him to start a new temple. As a second death brings fresh clues into focus, Jane needs to navigate a frightening dilemma—playing along won’t help her crack the mystery, but revealing too much could be a fatal mistake . . .

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