A Small Death in the Great Glen
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.
- Atria Books |
- 416 pages |
- ISBN 9781439164839 |
- August 2010
Reading Group Guide
A young boy has been found dead in the canal, and the members of a small community in the Highlands want answers. Suspicion quickly falls on a Polish sailor who has gone missing from a Russian ship. The year is 1956, and foreigners to this small Scottish town are guilty until proven innocent. Despite a lack of evidence, the police and townsmen are ready to convict.
The staff of the town’s century-old local newspaper—including new editor in chief John McAllister—may be the only people intent on finding the real culprit. But as McAllister is about to find out, the ghosts of his past connect him with the murder more closely than he could have ever imagined. Obsessed with the case, he is determined to uncover the truth. But preserving the status quo reigns supreme in the community; corrupt town clerks quietly go about their business, battered wives tell no tales, and highly-respected figures hold dark secrets behind closed doors.
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