On a dark, damp Sunday evening, a man taking a shortcut home sees a hand reaching out in supplication from a bundle of sacks. In an instant he knows something terrifying has happened. Read more...
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On a dark, damp Sunday evening, a man taking a shortcut home sees a hand reaching out in supplication from a bundle of sacks. In an instant he knows something terrifying has happened.
In the Highlands in the late 1950s, much of the local newspaper's success was due to Mrs. Smart, the no-nonsense office manager who kept everything and everyone in line. Her murder leaves her colleagues in shock and the "Highland Gazette "office in chaos. Joanne Ross, a budding reporter and shamefully separated mother, assumes Mrs. Smart's duties, but an intriguing stranger provides a distraction not only from the job and the investigation but from everything Joanne believes in.
"Beneath the Abbey Wall "brilliantly evokes a place still torn between the safety of the past and the uncertainty of the future, when rock 'n' roll and television invaded homes, and a change in attitudes still came slowly for many. As the staff of the "Highland Gazette "probes the crime, they uncover secrets deeply rooted in the past, and their friend's murder becomes the perfect fodder for strife and division in the town and between her colleagues.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-09-03
- Reviewer: Staff
In Scott’s appealing third novel set in the 1950s Scottish Highlands (after 2011’s A Double Death on the Black Isle), the arrest of Donal McLeod, the Highland Gazette’s deputy editor, for fatally stabbing the newspaper’s business manager, Mrs. Smart, throws the newsroom into chaos. None of the staff can believe Donal is capable of cold-blooded murder, least of all editor McAllister and reporter Joanne Ross, who set out to find the real killer. The police, on the other hand, think Donal had ample motive as a major beneficiary of Mrs. Smart’s will. Scott vividly evokes Scotland of the period, where tweed skirts are de rigueur for women, and separation from a spouse is almost unheard of. The well-drawn characters, who come from a range of backgrounds, give a broad view of the social milieu—especially Glaswegian McAllister, a relative newcomer to the Highlands. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Nov.)