Prejudice, class differences and murder meet on the Black Isle.
Typist and budding reporter Joanne Ross is that rara avis of 1950s Scotland, a single mother working to support her two girls after leaving her abusive husband. At least she’s not pregnant, which is more (or less) than can be said for her upper-crust boarding-school friend Patricia Ord Mackenzie. Perhaps to spite her wealthy, domineering mother, Patricia marries the father, a fisherman with an eye for advancement. Despite their years of friendship, Joanne has somehow always felt used by Patricia. Now she wonders what to make of it when Patricia’s husband is killed in a fall on the same day Fraser Munro, the reviled son of Patricia’s farm manager, is found dead in a ditch near the home farm. Two Tinker lads who were involved in a brawl with him stand accused of manslaughter. Patricia, by contrast, is cleared of any suspicion and quite happy to be rid of her husband. Joanne and her fellow staff of the Highland Gazette are always on the lookout for a scoop, but two unexpected deaths in one day are an embarrassment of riches. Ambitious reporter Rob is especially suspicious of the death of Patricia’s husband. Working together like members of a family, the newspaper staff investigate the two deaths as shocking new evidence is revealed.
Set against the bleak beauty of the Highlands, Scott’s second (A Small Death In a Great Glenn, 2010) continues to explore the slow transformation of Scotland from a highly ordered society while presenting a fine mystery with engaging characters.