Today really feels like spring has well and truly arrived and it’s Mother’s Day ! My son surprised me with not just one book, but two:
First, a book that was wrapped in brown paper in the bookshop from a pile of ‘mystery’ books – just a brief description, but not giving the author or the title. It’s Present Tense: a Best Defence Mystery by WHS McIntyre. On the cover it’s described as;
Crime with an edge of dark humour. The Best Defence series could only come out of Scotland.’
Criminal lawyer, Robbie Munro, is back home, living with his dad and his new-found daughter. Life as a criminal lawyer isn’t going well, and neither is his love life. While he’s preparing to defend the accused in a rape case, it all becomes suddenly more complicated when one of his more dubious clients leaves a mysterious box for him to look after. What’s in the box is going to change Robbie’s life – forever.
Secondly, a beautiful book, The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee, described in the Guardian:
McPhee is a grand master of narrative non-fiction.
In 1969, John McPhee moved his family from New Jersey across the Atlantic to live in the land of his forefathers, the island of Colonsay ‘“ seventeen square miles of dew and damp twenty-five miles off the coast of Scotland. They rented a crofthouse, his children enrolled at the local school, and they soon were accepted into this tightly circumscribed community of 138 people.
Intertwining history and legend, McPhee gives us a comprehensive portrait of this remote and misty land. He battles the fierce gales on the outer shoals of the Ardskenish Peninsula, listens to the crofters complain of the laird over drams in the island’s sole pub, and meets perhaps the last of the Great Highland bagpipers.
A blend of anthropology and travelogue, The Crofter and the Laird presents us with a perfect mirror of daily-life in the Highlands. McPhee writes with insight, sensitivity, and fondness for these hardy people ‘“ resulting in an account that’s as honest, humorous, and frank as the locals themselves.
Two very different books, both by authors new-to-me, and I’m looking forward to reading both of them. Thanks, Paul!