Short reviews of
(primarily) fiction with Scottish backgrounds
Submitted by Margaret (Peggy) Baker
to Family Tree
July 5, 2002
M.C. Beaton: Death of a
Celebrity (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95. ISBN 0-89296-676-9) Mystery.
Hamish MacBeth, Lochdubh’s
dour constable, returns in a sprightly tale of sleuthing. The celebrity if
Crystal French, newly-appointed star of a BBC program replacing a staid
Gaelic language program on local events. Crystal was a researcher before,
and she uses those skills to dig up faults and dirt to air on the show.
Rating soar, but at the expense of people’s feelings. When she dies, there
is a dearth of mourners.
So many possible suspects
from the people she skewered to the Gaelic program she replaced. Still,
the show must go on. Crystal’s replacement is also good at researching
dirt, and she, too, dies. Who in the small village has a secret awful
enough to kill to keep hidden? Hamish must find out. His strengths, like
those of Jeeves, lie in knowing his community in depth and human nature in
Paul Johnston: Water of
Death (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95, ISBN 0-312-27311-8). Science
In 2024 A.D global warming
has so altered Scotland’s coast that tropical diseases now appear in
northern climes. Civilization has deteriorated into isolated city-states,
run by dictatorships are varying niceties. Summer is unbearable hot and
called The Big Heat.
Since most pleasures are
banned or rationed, the masses are kept out of mischief with weekly
lotteries. Top prize is never having to work again. But lottery winners
are turning up dead. The instrument of death is poisoned whiskey–truly
dastardly to any Scot worthy of a gram of a single malt.
private investigator, is called in to solve this darkly fascinating case.
John Marsden: Somerled
and the Emergence of Gaelic Scotland (Tuckwell Press, ISBN
Somerled is an historical
figure and thus some actual records of his life exist. Marsden uses these
to present a very readable biograpy of a remarkable man who molded his age
to his ambition, and left a huge legacy. Seamas MacThomas in The Royal
Clans of Scotland credits six clans with direct descent from Somerled.
Even the Royal Stewart house has a link (through an heiress).
Best place to find this
British publication is at a vender at a Games. Many independent bookstores
can order it, and it is well worth the trouble of acquisition.