A Small Death in the Great Glen: A Novel

By A. D. Scott
Publisher:Atria, (8/3/2010)

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)

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Both probing character study and a driving novel of suspense, here is a novel that will linger in your mind like mist over the Scottish glens . . .

In the Highlands of 1950s Scotland, a boy is found dead in a canal lock. Two young girls tell such a fanciful story of his disappearance that no one believes them. The local newspaper staff—including Joanne Ross, the part-time typist embroiled in an abusive marriage, and her boss, a seasoned journalist determined to revamp the paper—set out to uncover and investigate the crime. Suspicion falls on several townspeople, all of whom profess their innocence. Alongside these characters are the people of the town and neighboring glens; a refugee Polish sailor; an Italian family whose cafÉ boasts the first known cappuccino machine in the north of Scotland; and a corrupt town clerk subverting the planning laws to line his own pocket.

Together, these very different Scots harbor deep and troubling secrets underneath their polished and respectable veneers—revelations that may prevent the crime from being solved and may keep the town firmly in the clutches of its shadowy past.


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Lizzy's thoughts on "A Small Death in the Great Glen: A Novel"
updated on:12/9/2010


"A Small Death in the Great Glen: A Novel"
By A. D. Scott

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)

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The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This splendid debut mystery has everything going for it—and a bit more, if you count sly Scottish charm. Scott’s writing is engaging, and her plotting Macbethian. The setting is a village in the Great Glen (roughly encompassing what the author describes as the “fierce and stunning landscape” between Fort William and Inverness) in the Highlands of Scotland. The time, 1956, is fairly calm but close enough to WWII to have residents still recovering from its devastating effects. The main characters cluster in the tiny newspaper offices of the Highland Gazette, a local weekly that is supposed to concentrate on livestock prices, auctions, and obits. Scott brings back the sounds of a precomputerized newsroom, the smells of ink and acid, and the feel of banging out stories (with copy paper!) on an old Underwood. When a little boy is found murdered in the canal just outside the village, the newspaper’s new editor in chief recruits the part-time typist, whose daughters know the murdered child, to help him investigate the case. They uncover a host of secrets and a number of people with a vested interest in keeping the mystery of the boy’s death unsolved. The characters of the crusading small-town newspaperman and the part-time typist (a battered wife at home) are skillfully drawn and will have readers rooting for them unequivocally. This is the first entry in a projected series, and it is captivating on every level. --Connie Fletcher


"A.D. Scott’s beautifully written debut novel brims with intimate knowledge of the Scottish Highlands and of the dark secrets that lie behind the walls of a quaint rural village. Vividly realized with memorable characters and a stunning setting, A Small Death in the Great Glen is a novel to savor." — Malla Nunn, author of A Beautiful Place to Die

"An impressive first novel. I'd have imagined 1950s Inverness as gray and humorless, but Scott uses the background of religious intolerance, prejudice and petty jealousies, to bring together an engaging cast of warm and colorful characters. The central protagonists, all of whom work for a local newspaper, are interesting, well-rounded and sympathetic. I hope to meet them again." — Ann Cleeves, author of Red Bones

"This atmospheric novel sets you firmly in small town Scotland of the 1950s. The characters are engaging and the suspense mounts along with a growing sense of dread as events surrounding the death of a young boy unfold. Once you start reading, you'll find it hard to put down." — Peter Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The Price of Love

"This splendid debut mystery has everything going for it…Scott’s writing is engaging, and her plotting Macbethian…The characters of the crusading small-town newspaper are skillfully drawn and will have readers rooting for them unequivocally…captivating on every level" —Booklist, starred review

"Oh what a delight, this book! Almost perfect in every way. A.D. Scott's fine debut novel deserves a spot this year on everyone's 'must-read' list." —William Kent Krueger, author of Heaven's Keep

"This mystery is a delight to unravel, with its lively dialect-spouting players, inhabiting a lavishly described, forbidding but beautiful landscape. A rollickying, cozy escapade" —Kirkus

"Written with humor, compassion and a fine sense of tragedy, A Small Death in the Great Glen is the first in a series by this promising new author" —Bookpage

"A rich portrayal of provincial life in the middle of the 20th century" —Romantic Times Review

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