Two Women, Two Murders . . .
A stunning and suspenseful story of families, betrayal, and a community divided.
Nothing is ever quite at peace on Scotland’s Black Isle—the Traveling people are forever at odds with the locals, the fishermen have nothing in common with the farmers, and the villages have no connection with the town. But when two deaths occur on the same day, involving the same families from the same estate—the Black Isle seems as forbidding as its name.
Joanne Ross, typist at the Highland Gazette, is torn whether to take on the plum task of reporting on these murders—after all, the woman at the center of both crimes is one of her closest friends. Joanne knows the story could be her big break, and for a woman in the mid-1950s—a single mother, no less—good work is hard to come by.
But the investigation by the staff on the Gazette reveals secrets that will forever change this quiet, remote part of the Highlands. The ancient feudal order is crumbling, loyalties are tested, friendships torn apart, and the sublime beauty of the landscape will never seem peaceful again.
In Scott's solid second suspense novel set in 1950s Scotland (after A Small Death in the Great Glen), Joanne Ross, newly promoted from typist to full-time reporter at the Highland Gazette, finds herself writing about two tragic stories connected to an old friend, Patricia Ord Mackenzie, who has alienated her upper-class family by marrying a fishing boat captain, Alexander "Sandy" Skinner. On the same day that Sandy plummets fatally over a waterfall, Fraser Munro, the rebellious adult son of Patricia's family servants, is found dead on a county road. Two teenage Travelers, a nomadic, discriminated-against group, are charged with manslaughter for Fraser's death, while Sandy's fall is quickly explained away as an accident. Readers willing to forgive slow pacing and some unresolved story points should enjoy Scott's careful attention to creating characters who convincingly belong to a past era's attitudes and values.