Monday, September 23, 2013


A.D. Scott's North Sea Requiem is a good story.

Scott's book begins in 1958 when a small town Scottish woman finds a severed leg. The leg is in a boot, part of the laundry of the local Shinty team. (The woman is the wife of the team's coach.)

Shinty is a regional sport. (At least it seemed that way to me). The teams are competitive. Possibly someone from the other team put the leg-filled boot in the opponent's laundry.

As it turns out, the leg came from a recent grave. But there is more.

Someone murders the local health/school nurse. She is the one who found the leg. Whoever did it, commits the crime in a terrible way.

And along the way, a strange woman comes to town. She is seeking information about her dead husband. He was killed in a WWII plane accident in the North Sea.

Many in the small town wonder why she chose to come to their town. There may have been better places for her to look.

All these things come together, though they are not strictly related.

Finally, the community solves more than one crime.

At the head of the crime-solving pack is Joanne Ross, a local newspaper reporter. The Highland Gazette's editor relegates her to doing the women's page.

After all, she is a woman, and it is a breakthrough for a woman to become part of the man's world of the local newspaper at all. Those who plumped for women's rights were still a long way in the future. (Except for Joanne, of course. She would love to a hard case reporter.)

Joanne, in the process of a divorce, also finds a new love in the story.

The story's outcome is not just fairly unexpected. It is filled with abuse and insanity.

This story kept me reading. I wanted to know about the leg. I wanted to know about the man who lost his life in the WWII airplane. I wanted to know about the wife who had come looking for information about her dead husband. And I wanted to know what was going to happen to these small town people.

To me, this was one of those in-between books. It was in between a cozy and something a bit more violent. Most of the small comments I've read about the book talked about the setting. Those folks said it gave a good sense of 1958 Scotland on the coast of the North Sea.

The setting was great, but for me, the real attraction was a page-turning story. 


So they did what they did best, turned out a newspaper that honored Nurse Urquhart.
 ...the editor was a man who had left faith behind on a hillside in Spain.

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