One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2015
Set against the grandeur of the Northern Scottish Highlands in the 1950s, here is the sixth evocative, fast-paced, suspenseful mystery in A.D. Scott’s highly acclaimed series featuring beloved heroine Joanne Ross.
Praised for their “well-drawn characters” (Publishers Weekly), “ingenious” plotting (Booklist, starred review), and “a terrific sense of place” (Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Now, Don’t You Cry), A. D. Scott’s mysteries never fail to enthrall and entertain. Now, in Scott’s latest, Joanne Ross returns for a spellbinding case involving a woman accused of witchcraft in small-town Scotland.
When Alice Ramsay, artist and alleged witch, is found dead in her home in a remote Scottish glen, the verdict is suicide.
But Joanne Ross of the Highland Gazette refuses to believe it. As she investigates Alice’s past, Joanne uncovers layer upon layer of intrigue. With the appearance of officials from a secretive government agency and an ambitious art critic from a national newspaper, Joanne is increasingly convinced that something—and someone—from Alice’s past was involved in her death.
As in her previous mysteries North Sea Requiem, Beneath the Abbey Wall, and A Double Death on the Black Isle, among others, A. D. Scott brings to life compelling characters and vividly portrays the charms and intrigues of a small town in 1950s Scotland. With surprising twists and a shocking dénouement that poses moral questions as relevant now as six decades ago, A Kind of Grief is another unforgettable entry in an atmospheric series that will draw you in and linger in your mind like mist over the Scottish glens.
Scott's solid sixth novel set in 1950s Scotland (after 2014's The Low Road) revolves around enigmatic artist and herbalist Alice Ramsay, who lives in deliberate seclusion on an isolated Highlands estate and has been accused and acquitted of witchcraft. Scenting a story, freelance journalist Joanne Ross feels an immediate kinship with the older woman when she takes the three-hour drive to make an unannounced visit, but Alice severs all communication after Joanne inadvertently violates her privacy by leaking details of her life to the national press. When the artist is later found hanged in her barn, Joanne's guilt drives her to probe the verdict of suicide. With her second husband, newspaper editor John McAllister, she buys some of Alice's paintings and papers, among which appears to be coded information. Scott ably integrates the period's Cold War intrigues into a story about the power of small communities both to sustain and to sabotage lives.