A Kind of Grief by A.D. Scott

Available October 6

‘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.’

The sixth book in The Highland Gazette Series, one of my favorite series! I’m never disappointed with Ms. Scott’s books. She draws you in from the first pages and I devour each book. Her sense of place is fantastic. I’m always transported to 1950’s Scotland as I read. Her characters are vibrant and well developed. I think about them between books and look forward to visiting them again in the next book!

In this installment Joanne is 6 months out from a horrific experience in a previous book. She almost died. You really need to read these in order to get the most out of them. She is ‘retired’ from the Gazette, now married to McAllister, focusing on her home and family and writing. Having short stories published in magazines, she wants to write a novel. She comes across a headline in a newspaper about a recent ‘witch trial’ up north in the Highlands, where the last witch in Scotland was burned ages ago. Thinking this would be a great subject for her novel and wanting to prove to her editor husband that she is fully recovered and doesn’t need to be ‘watched over’ or protected anymore, she decides to head up and investigate.

There’s an instant connection between Joanne and Alice Ramsey, the so called witch. When Alice is found dead from a supposed suicide Joanne uses her investigative skills learned as a reporter at the Gazette to find out what really happened to Alice. Is she putting herself in harms way? Will the staff at the Gazette be able to help her find the truth and protect her?

Spies, forgery, witches, intricate plot and relationships to unwind. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out!

You can pick a place to purchase this book from a long list of retailers here on the publishers site. For the UK go to Amazon or Book Depository

Peggy Ann

The Highland Gazette Series

Just found out there is a sixth book coming out in October in the wonderful Highland Gazette series by A.D. Scott! I thought maybe the last one The Low Road was the final book.

Can’t wait!  Check it out at the publisher’s page.

Also Poison Pen Press in the USA seems to be publishing British Library Crime Classics here! Yea! Two new J. Farjeon books are coming out Sept. 1st!


Check out their library of books available here
at Poison Pen Press

The Low Road by A.D. Scott

Book 5 in The Highland Gazette Mystery Series
326 pages

‘John McAllister has come to a crossroads, torn between the stability of his life in the Highlands and the thrill of working as a renowned journalist in Glasgow at a national daily newspaper. Can he accept that this exciting new phase is over? That it is time to settle down?

Before he knows it, McAllister is in the midst of a fast-paced hunt for his good friend Jimmy McPhee, who is involved in a blood feud with a murderous razor gang. With a fiercely ambitious young crime reporter, he tracks down Jimmy, but the gang finds them. Only when another violent clash breaks out do they have the chance to escape. Soon McAllister finds himself in danger of losing everything he holds dear—his mother, his fiancée, his friends, his integrity, and his life.

And Joanne Ross, recovering from horrific injuries, senses McAllister’s ambivalence about their forthcoming marriage, and she knows she can only wait for him to return to her.

From the wilderness of the Highlands to the desolation of Glasgow’s slums, book five in Scott’s mystery series is a portrait of extremes: between city and glen; between the rule of law and the laws of the streets; between safe, enduring love and unreasoning passion.’

This is my favorite series. The characters and place are so vibrant and alive. The plot is always excellent and the ending always a big twist that leaves you saying ‘Holy Cow!!’. This one is still excellent, perfect characterization and full of atmosphere, but I was disappointed that so much of the story did not include the old team working together and Joanne was in the background. The wonderful ensemble cast from the Highland Gazette was what made this series. In this one John goes to Glasgow and a new paper and new reporters are introduced. There’s even a new woman in John’s life that he struggles with his feelings for. Will he go back to Joanne and the Gazette or stay in Glasgow with Mary?  After The North Sea Requiem left us with a seriously injured Joanne and an emotionally distraught Rob I felt a little let down that we didn’t get to focus on their stories and their healing. 

I did like getting more of a look at John’s family and his life growing up. I liked his mom.  Such a difference between his life in Glasgow and his life now in a small Highland town. This tale in Glasgow at the big city paper The Herald would be a great series on it’s own, but not with our John from the Gazette!  

Bringing Jimmy McPhee into Glasgow and the rough gangs and bare knuckle boxing was exciting and we feared for his life on every page. A price on his head had him running and hiding for his life. But why was there a price on his head? They won’t know until they find out who put it there. Can they save Jimmy or will his luck run out this time?

This book ended with a not so big bang, that I saw coming this time, and I felt all ends wrapped up. Just wondering if this is the last of the series. So sad if it is!

You can read an excerpt at the publisher’s site.

The White Bird Passes by Jessie Kesson

‘This is the unforgettable story of young Janie, growing up in the city backstreets. Her beloved mother, Liza, has ‘gone to the bad’, her father has gone for good and Janie’s dreams are haunted not by the bogeyman, but the Cruelty Man, the Rent Man and the orphanage. Yet through her tough pilgrimage shines the gusto of the slums and the triumph of the human spirit.

Jessie Kesson is the much-loved author of Another Time, Another Place. In The White Bird Passes she draws vividly on her own Scottish childhood.’      From back cover 

The edition I have has an eight page introduction to this book. The book is way too short. Although in the short telling of this very large tale, you meet a lovely strong girl with such exuberance for life in-spite of her very hard life.  Beautiful clear descriptions of the slums she called home and the people who were her neighbors. At 8 years old she is removed from her mother’s care and sent to an orphanage where she lives until she is 16. Her grandparents are middle class people with a nice home and land, but because she was born out of wedlock her strict Presbyterian grandfather won’t sit at a dinner table with her or her mother or speak to them at all. They would visit her grandparents home on rare occasion and grandma showed them love and fed them, but grandpa left the house. How very sad that because of a hard, unforgiving heart and misplaced religious views this innocent child lived the life she did. And yet she only saw the beauty and the whimsy in everything. Maybe it was God’s plan for her after all to make her who she ultimately became. He gave her a beautiful gift that I envy!

Peggy Ann

Read Scotland 2014

North Sea Requiem by A.D. Scott

4th in the Highland Gazette Series

  ‘When a small-town Scottish woman discovers a severed leg in the boot of one of the local hockey players’ uniforms, it’s a big scoop for the Highland Gazette. But reporter Joanne Ross wants a front-page story of her own, and she hopes to find it in Mae Bell, an American jazz singer whose husband disappeared in an aircraft accident five years ago and who is searching the Highlands for her husband’s colleagues.
Things take a very sinister turn when Nurse Urquhart, who discovered the limb, suffers a hideous and brutal attack. Even stranger, she was the recipient of letters warning her to keep her nose out of someone’s business — letters that Mae Bell and the staff of the Highland Gazette also received. What could it all mean?
  Unfolding against a gorgeously rendered late 1950s Scottish countryside, North Sea Requiem captures the mores and issues of another era, especially in Joanne Ross — a woman wrestling with divorce, career, and a boss who wants to be more than just her superior. The result is a poignant, often haunting mix of violence, loss, and redemption in a narrative full of unnerving plot twists and unforgettable characters.’

Two great mysteries running side by side eventually dove tailing into a very satisfying read! Looks like Joanne is finally going to have a wonderful romance, maybe even Hector has a little romance coming his way:) Rob is in for quite a life changing event. Will the American jazz singer story Joanne is working on put her life in mortal danger? You’ll have to read it to find out! Plenty of red herrings and atmosphere. Don’t miss this one! It is a great read as a stand alone but it’s much better if you start with the first in this wonderful series!

Peggy Ann

Beneath the Abbey Wall by A.D. Scott

AS A DECADE OF CHANGE COMES TO A CLOSE, MURDER HITS CLOSE TO HOME IN A SMALL SCOTTISH TOWN. . . .   On a dark, damp Sunday evening, a man taking a shortcut home sees a hand reaching out in supplication from a bundle of sacks. In an instant he knows something terrifying has happened.
  In the Highlands in the late 1950s, much of the local newspapers success was due to Mrs. Smart, the no-nonsense office manager who kept everything and everyone in line. Her murder leaves her colleagues in shock and the Highland Gazette office in chaos. Joanne Ross, a budding reporter and shamefully separated mother, assumes Mrs. Smarts duties, but an intriguing stranger provides a distraction not only from the job and the investigation but from everything Joanne believes in.
  Beneath the Abbey Wall brilliantly evokes a place still torn between the safety of the past and the uncertainty of the future, when rock n roll and television invaded homes, and a change in attitudes still came slowly for many. As the staff of the Highland Gazette probes the crime, they uncover secrets deeply rooted in the past, and their friends murder becomes the perfect fodder for strife and division in the town and between her colleagues.

What can I say… Ms. Scott did it again! In this third installment of the ‘Highland Gazette’ series we are transported back to 1957 to the small town in Scotland and a visit with the staff of The Highland Gazette! I’ve been waiting a year for it and I wasn’t disappointed!

Mrs. Smart wasn’t really a key player in the last two books, just a background character. This book she gets front and center even though she is dead. We learn a lot about her and her past. Don McLeod the paper’s Deputy Editor is arrested for her murder! Unbelievable! What is his connection to her? You will be surprised! And what does the tragic tale of Tinker’s children being stolen from them 30 years ago have to do with this? Can Mrs. Smart’s invalid husband really get around better than we think and could he have done this dirty deed? Who is this Neil Stewart from Canada and how will he impact Joanne Ross’ life? Poor Mac, can he & Rob find evidence to exonerate Don and will he ever tell Joanne how he feels about her? Will the Highland Gazette even survive through all of this?

If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, ‘A Small Death in the Great Glen‘ and ‘Double Death on the Black Isle‘ you can still enjoy this one as a stand alone mystery. But, believe me you’ll want to get both of these other books and start at the beginning to get to know the characters and become involved in their lives. And just like the first two books at the very end a shocking surprise that leaves you stunned!

“Beautifully written and atmospheric, Beneath the Abbey Wall transports the reader to the bleakness of Scotland after World War II. This has everything I enjoy in a book: a terrific sense of place, real people, complicated relationships and a suspenseful peeling away of layers of back-story.”
— Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Now, Don’t You Cry
“Scott vividly evokes Scotland of the period…The well-drawn characters, who come from a range of backgrounds, give a broad view of the social milieu.”
Publisher’s Weekly
“A plot that’s ingenious, characters that are both believable and surprising, and evocative Highlands atmosphere make this another must-read.”
— Booklist (starred)

I can’t wait for book four…

The North Sea Requiem  due out in September 2013

Description from the publisher’s page

The fourth gripping, evocative, and lyrical mystery in the acclaimed series that brilliantly evokes the Scottish Highlands of the 1950s.

A. D. Scott’s extraordinary mystery novels have been called “beautifully written and atmospheric” (Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Now, Don’t You Cry), “a visit with an old friend in front of a fireplace on a cold wintry night” (Suspense Magazine), and “must-reads” (Booklist). In her latest, Scott pits the staff of the Highland Gazette against their greatest adversary yet in a mystery that her fans will relish.

When a woman discovers a severed leg in the boot of one of the local hockey player’s uniforms, it’s a big scoop for the Highland Gazette. But reporter Joanne Ross wants a front page story of her own, and she hopes to find in Mae Bell, an American jazz singer whose husband disappeared in an aircraft accident five years ago and who is searching the Highlands for her husband’s colleagues.

Things take a very sinister turn when Nurse Urquhart, who discovered the severed limb, suffers a hideous and brutal attack. Even stranger, she was the recipient of letters warning her to keep her nose out of someone’s business—letters that Mae Bell and the staff of the Highland Gazette also received. What could it all mean?

Unfolding against a gorgeously rendered Scottish countryside, North Sea Requiem captures the mores and issues of another era, especially in Joanne Ross—a woman wrestling with divorce, career, and a boss who wants to be more than just her superior. The result is a poignant, often haunting mix of violence, loss, and redemption in a narrative full of unnerving plot twists and unforgettable characters.

You’d better get started on book one if you haven’t read them yet!

Fantastic Fiction has a link to all the places you can order ‘Beneath the Abbey Wall’ as well as the other two books!

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