The Case of the Emigrant Niece (Major Gask Mysteries #1) by David Cairns of Finavon
Review,  Historical Fiction,  Mystery

The Case of the Emigrant Niece (Major Gask Mysteries #1) by David Cairns of Finavon – mystery set in 1860s Melbourne

The Case of the Emigrant Niece is an interesting and easy mystery set in 1860s Melbourne with some interesting historical facts and details.

mystery set in 1860s Melbourne

The Case of the Emigrant Niece: Enter Findo Gask and Erroll Rait (Major Gask Mysteries Book 1) by David Cairns of Finavon

Publication Date : December 1st,2022

Publisher : Finavon Press

Read Date : February 15th, 2022

Genre : Historical Fiction / Mystery

Pages : 404

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclaimer – Many thanks to author for review copy.
This post contains affiliate links.


A multiple murderer on the loose, an inheritance stolen

Injured at the start of the Indian mutiny in 1858, Scotsman Findo Gask finds himself in Melbourne during the fabled Gold Rush where he stumbles across the mystery of a stolen inheritance. Captivated by the pretty heiress, together with his new idiosyncratic friend, Erroll Rait he begins to investigate for her, travelling back to London, Edinburgh, the Scottish highlands and then to Melbourne again, uncovering multiple murders before falling foul of a sinister plot to add himself and his client to the list of victims.

Taking readers back to the days of steam trains and clipper ships, gas-lit Edinburgh streets and the goldfields of Australia with the unravelling of a mystery and the discovery of a relentless murderer, The Case of the Emigrant Niece is a spellbinding novel that captures the imagination and transports you back to a different age.


The Case of the Emigrant Niece is an interesting historical mystery about Findo Gask and his friend Eroll Rait solving the case of stolen inheritance and multiple murders.

+/- Now, this starts with giving more background of Major Findo Gask, how he got a permanent leg injury during the mission of trying to get reinforcement for his fellow East India soldiers making him return back to his homeland Edinburgh as a civilian.

Before joining the army he was an engineer and he gets work in a company that has mining company in Back Creek (that was later renamed Talbot) in Melbourne where the main mystery of stolen inheritance starts and where he first meets Rait but it happens after 100 pages. The author keeps readers engaged with a small mystery while Findo was recovering hospital and also with exploring the setting of both Edinburg and Melbourn.

+ The writing is easy and detailed with some historical facts added like reference notes at the end of chapters. It feels like reading the journals of Findo Gask and his accounts of events, like Watson’s account in Sherlock Holmes.

Character descriptions are so very similar to Sherlock and Watson. Like Watson, Findo here has a leg injury, he narrates the story and finds lodging in Melbourn with Rait who is very much like Sherlock – He works as a detective for Melbourne authority, loves crime and science experiments, has the same opinion for love and women in his life, and also doesn’t like literature or poetry… The House they both live in, 21/2 Bourke Street, also sounds the same as in Sherlock Holmes! Yes, not very original but there is some differences as well like, both characters play crickets and that’s how they first meet and also they are not as good or as fast as Sherlock in solving mysteries.

+ What I loved most is the time period of 1860s and all the details and facts the author included during the story. I also liked reading phrases used in that time period. I enjoyed descriptions of Melbourne and Edinburgh especially of mining colonies, and not just that but also sports of the era that included cricket and horse race that mentions famous cricketers in history like Thomas Wills and events like Gentlemen vs Players cricket match and The Melbourne Cup colonial race.

– It was easy to figure out the culprit and how murders were executed but not having enough evidence made the mystery long (too long for my liking). The baits and traps they placed weren’t as effective and they let the villain escape not once but thrice.

The author effectively gives the feeling of a cat-and-mouse chase but at the same time, I just wanted to push aside both Findo and Gask and capture the villain myself to give it swift closure. Maybe it’s also because the mystery covered two different continents and travel and communication weren’t as swift in that time but I have read historical mysteries and also I just didn’t like how they let villain escape so many times.

Overall, The Case of the Emigrant Niece is an interesting first book in the series with some interesting historical facts and details but it wasn’t the best I read.

I recommend this if you like,
Slow easy mystery
1860s setting
Historical facts as reference notes at the end of the chapter
Characters like Sherlock and Watson
First-person narrative

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Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,

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Have you read a book around the Gold Rush time period?
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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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