The story happens in Scotland in 1869, in particular in the little farming community of Culduie, the protagonist Roderick Macrae belongs to. He is seventeen and he admits to have murdered three people.
The author of the novel states in the beginning to have retraced all the documents related to the Macrae case, and he collects them in the book His Bloody Project, so we have medical opinions, the report written by Macrae himself in prison and the trial accounts.
The reader faces a series of testimonies about Roderick behaviour that contradict themselves: for some people he was brilliant, for other he was a fool, so he was either defined good or extremely evil. In the transcriptions rivalries between the victim and culprit families arise: one of the three dead is Lachlan Mackenzie, deputy of the village for the land owner, and from Roderick tale he was persecuting the Macrae family.
The purpose of Roderick’s lawyer is to have a verdict of insanity, and so to spare his client from the death penalty. Roderick understood his actions? And which reason brought him in killing three people?
The pro of this novel is that the reader is in the same situation of the trial’s jury: he/she has documents and testimonies and about them he/she can decide Macrae’s fate. And like in a jury the reader has to evaluate what to believe, since the documents are realistic, but the narrator could be unreliable.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.
* His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet ★★★★☆
*I read this book in English