A Small Death in the Great Glen
by A.D. Scott
The year: 1956
The place: a highland village, Scotland
The crime: a murdered child
Tucked away from the world, trying to balance traditions and modernity of post-war Britain, this village has welcomed foreigners and embraced the wounded. It’s an idyllic place full of tight-knit families, and highland charm. Until little Jamie is murdered.
And the village’s friendly facade cracks.
- Joanne, trapped in an abusive marriage, struggles to belong
- Annie and Jean, frightened little girls who see too much
- McAllister, new to the village, haunted by old demons that won’t stay hidden
- Chiara and Gino, betrayed by neighbours
- The man with the unpronounceable name, villain or scapegoat?
A Small Death in the Great Glen is more than a mystery. It explores the deep wounds of a murdered boy, and the world’s murdered innocence. It’s the kind of book you want to take time with.
Savour Scott’s beautiful prose.
Ponder her insights.
Reflect on the deeper questions she poses.
This is the most beautifully written book I have read in a very long time. Turn any page and you’ll find something to delight.
It was hard to pick, but here are a few samples of Scott’s skill.
“That week, the last in October, the town smelled of toffee and turnips. Treadle sewing machines clunked as children changed their minds a dozen times on what to wear but settled for whatever their mothers could produce, old clothes being at a premium, cloth and clothes rationing a not-too-distant memory for most.” P 188
“In Scotland, Halloween was a Celtic festival with the night promising a delicious frisson of fear. The evening star hovered above the horizon, the starting signal of the annual visitation from the undead. …Outside the church hall, a newly built rectangular construction of no architectural merit whatsoever, men and boys, like a stream of worker ants, were adding branches, off-cuts of wood, anything that would burn, to a dark teepee shape. This bonfire would blaze well into the night.” P 205
“At the far end of the hall below the stage, children jiggled and shrieked, impatient for their turn, mocking their friends, as they had a go at dooking for apples. Scones dangled on strings from a clothesline, treacle dripping dark gelatinous globs onto the painter’s drop cloths and the unwary, and hands behind backs, mouths open like little baby cuckoos, the children would try to bite through a scone as it swayed in front of them.” P 206
Despite the serious subject matter, this was a ‘safe’ read. I look forward to devouring her other works.
A Double Death on the Black Isle
Beneath The Abbey Wall
North Sea Requiem