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The Blackhouse

by Peter May.

A brutal murder on the remote Isle of Lewis bears a similarity to a recent slaying in Edinburgh, so Detective Sergeant Finlay (Fin) Macleod, who grew up on Lewis, is dispatched north to investigate. And as the investigation unfolds, the sound of Gaelic, the sight of old friends and the smell of peat fires reminds Fin of a childhood he thought he'd escaped. The first novel of May's Lewis Trilogy, The Blackhouse expertly captures "a brooding landscape that in a moment of sunlight could be unexpectedly transformed" and the God-fearing people who call it home.

The Islands That Roofed The World: Easdale, Balnahua, Luing and Seil

by Mary Withall.

The tiny Slate Islands, which lie off the west coast of Argyll, were once the center of an astonishing empire. "In the middle years of the 19th century, between seven million and 19 million roofing slates were exported annually as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the West Indies and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America," explains Mary Withall as she tells how this came to pass, from the geology of the area and canny management of the Breadalbane family, who owned the islands for 400 years, to the today's thriving community on Easdale.

Bruce, Meg and Me

by Gregor Ewing.

The life-changing journey undertaken by Robert The Bruce, who was defeated in battle and hunted as a fugitive before turning his fortunes around and becoming King of Scotland, has been retraced by Gregor Ewing and his dog Meg. The adventure, covering 1,000 miles over nine weeks, brings to life both the joys of walking the Scottish countryside and the country's rich history. "An inspiring and heart-warming read for walkers who are looking to revive their passion and tread new territory, as well as for visitors and historians."

Budda Da

by Anne Donavan.

Anne Marie's dad Jimmy, a Glasgow painter and decorator, has always been up for an adventure, so when he takes up meditation at the Buddhist Center, no one gives it a second thought. But as her Da (dad) discovers Buddhism, rejecting old habits and seeking a more meaningful life, it causes conflict in the family, which 12-year-old Anne takes in as a bemused and sometimes astute observer. Written in Glasgow dialect from the triple point of view of Anne Marie, Jimmy and his wife Liz, the novel takes some getting used to, but once adapted, the reader will find humor and a fascinating window into the Glasgow character.


Full reviews of these books are available in the Autumn 2015 issue of Scottish Life.

Previously Reviewed Books