Scottish crime fiction is a wonderfully rich and diverse area, as authors all over the land create their own characters and scenarios, with murders to solve.
Unlike many others, Douglas Watt has taken a slight twist on the genre, by turning back the clock, as investigative advocate John MacKenzie cracks crimes in the 17th century
The historian’s latest novel is A Killing in Van Diemen’s Land, set in Edinburgh in 1690.
The body of a wealthy merchant and church elder is discovered in his home in the city centre. Was his killing the result of a robbery gone wrong? The vicious mode of his death seems to suggest otherwise.
Watt uses the background of the time, with Scotland in upheaval as political and religious tensions boil, as MacKenzie is brought out of retirement, with his associate Davie Scougall.
Watt’s descriptive text brings Edinburgh’s dark past to life, as you can almost picture the flickering flames and dark shadows of the streets, and hear horse hooves clattering past.
A fascinating read, with a difficult time in Scotland’s past as its backdrop. This is the fifth novel in the MacKenzie series, and highly recommended (just as the previous novel, The Unnatural Death of a Jacobite, is).
A Killing in Van Diemen’s Land, by Douglas Watt, published by Luath Press, £7.99.