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After Bruno suffers a long-expected family bereavement, Justin and Imogen get him a fun present: a mystery weekend at Corpington Manor at Old Yule. All’s fun (although very weird) until they lose a night, are imprisoned in a freezing cellar and escape back home where Clara tells them to get some therapy for their PTSD. Their Scooby-Doo type adventure stops being comic when relationships break down and Bruno is sacked from his job – for actions which he can’t remember doing. Hiking the West Highland Way, alone with Justin, Bruno relaxes away from stress. Until they meet a sinister traveller on the road. Nothing is solved until Imogen persuades them to return to Mad, Bad and Dodgy Manor at Midsummer for a New Age healing retreat. What Bruno learns there has him running scared, all the way to a bloodstained body on a Glasgow street. Will Bruno ever find out what happened in the past or will he have to live with its mystery?
Alan Ahrens-McManus describes his qualifications as a novel writer as, "a life of getting into scrapes and out of them while hanging out with people so extremely different they wouldn’t be seen dead with each other; years of living and working in dodgy situations in even dodgier countries; a Highland grandmother who passed on her gift of various experiences of second sight; a fascination with the peculiarities of people and a total inability to stop my words jumping around merrily on the page. I also have a respect for my characters, which are only vaguely my own creation, and the patience to let them tell me in their own time and in their own way what they’ve been up to since I wrote about them last."
"Shades of the Sun", rather than just a form of escapism, allows reflection on 'real life' as the main characters are multi-faceted and develop as they learn from experience and each other, a development which started with "Tricks of the Mind", and continued with "The Lovers". Next is "Qismet" and the latest novel in the series is "Tìr nam Bàn".