“Bloody Scotland” edited by James Crawford

Scotland has always had a romantic side for many people, with its old castles and misty moors. But these same castles can also have a dangerous turn.

In this book, the writer gives twelve such examples. James Crawford is a Scot, who lives in Edinburgh. He is Publisher of Historic Environment Scotland, the organization that cares for over three hundred historic properties and holds Scotland’s national collection of archaeology and architecture.

He tells of how he went with a small group a few years ago to visit the ruins of Castle Campbell, in the Ochil Hills above the small town of Dollar. When they were walking down to the terraces in front of the castle, they suddenly heard a gunshot. After a moment of genuine alarm, they started laughing and decided it must be a farmer. Some time later, Crawford was talking to the co-founder of the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival. They considered asking twelve of Scotland’s top crime writers to write short stories inspired by twelve of the most iconic buildings.

This book is the result. There are twelve excellent photographs of the buildings they chose — as well as provocative stories to go with them. It may not be the Scotland we know and love – but it makes for a good read.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall