Scottish wit and wisdom via fiction

Flag-3St Andrew’s Day

Where all things Scottish are celebrated and quite rightly so. Scotland has some of the most stunning scenery in the world and is a top tourist destination. There’s the well known and loved Loch Ness Monster, the Edinburgh tattoo, Haggis, bagpipes and of course Tartan.

But what we love is its humour  and its people. And the many gifted writers who love Scotland so much it becomes a feature in many books. Books that highlight and pay homage to much of Scotland’s magic. And the magic time of the Edinburgh book festival! A book pilgrimage for many.

A short tour if we may….

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*Discussing the need to rid Scotland of its darker side in Robertson’s Glasgow:

Every one deid is one less bampot on the streets

edinb*Giving an honest appraisal of  a haggis dish:

“I would rather kiss a public latrine that each something of such foul appearance.”

There is some very fine Scottish food (haggis being one example!) such as bridies, stovies and fine venison!

*Debating the history and legacy of Body snatching …FALLS

At the time, most bodies worked on by anatomists were cold indeed. They were brought to Edinburgh from all over Britain — some came by way of the Union Canal. The resurrectionists — body-snatchers — pickled them in whisky for transportation. It was a lucrative trade.”

“But did the whisky get drunk afterwards?”

Devlin chuckled. “Economics would dictate that it did.”

*Experiencing a wedding on the most northernly Shetland island of Unst during Simmer dim?

TAirA single chord played on fiddle and accordion,a breathless moment of silence …This was the hamefarin’

The Simmer dim was the summer dusk. “So far north it never really got dark in in June.”

*Meeting some of Scotland’s folklore..

Whether it’s the Shetland trowes, or the Loch Ness monster and a modern tale of the search for  it, Scotland never fails to capture the imagination.

And there’s the little dog, Grey Friar’s Bobby, who sat by his master’s grave – immortalised in books, film, tv and a statue..

bertie*And who could forget –

Bertie from 44 Scotland street, Edinburgh. Always full of wisdom when either debating the need for a certain plaque :

“No plaque reminds the passer-by of these glories, although there should be one; for those who invent biscuits bring great pleasure to many.”

or just expressing the dreams of a young Scottish lad:

“Life would undoubtedly improve when he turned eighteen and could leave home to go and live somewhere far away and exotic – Glasgow, perhaps”

Best not venture into Robertson’s Glasgow though eh Bertie?

There’s so much Scotland has to offer Bertie – both in literature and for real.

Happy St Andrews Day and happy reading!

Britcrime presents… Daniel Pembrey – The Harbour Master based in Amsterdam

With the Britcrime festival now only two days away, we meet another author on the ‘Quick Brit tour’ as we’re calling it and introducing you to crime writer who sets his novel The Harbour Master in the grim and grimy canals of Amsterdam. Talk about atmospheric and evocative!

So what’s it all about? –

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The Harbour Master Trail

The Harbour Master is a Dutch detective series featuring maverick cop Henk van der Pol. It grew out of author Daniel Pembrey’s search for crime fiction set in Holland (in English translation) while visiting a close sister living there. Compared to neighbouring Scandinavia, Holland has produced relatively little crime fiction – which is surprising, given how suitably atmospheric its locations are! 

Amsterdam Harbour - Henk's Habitat
Amsterdam Harbour – Henk’s Habitat

All of Book 1 is set in Amsterdam. Henk is thinking about retirement there when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But his bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family …

Book 2 starts in Rotterdam, and moves to Brussels and Antwerp as Henk investigates a maze-like set of cases involving diamonds, fine art, drugs and high-class prostitution. What connects the cases, and what risks must Henk run to uncover the criminals? Impeding him is his rival and boss Joost, who has an equal but quite separate interest in the investigation’s outcome …

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The finale starts in Brussels, before traveling to Oslo, The Hague, Amsterdam, Noordwijk and Leiden. A powerful Dutch politician is hijacked, bearing parallels with the 1983 kidnapping of Freddy Heineken. Henk, who worked on the Heineken case at the start of his career, is now operating outside of the official investigation.

Henk becomes imprisoned himself in Leiden, and, with rival cop Joost emerging as the winner, Henk must navigate dark currents at the highest level of Dutch society.

BRITCRIME

Daniel Pembrey will discuss the Harbour Master series on July 12th, at the BritCrime online festival hosted by Helen Smith. Alongside him will be the acclaimed authors Quentin Bates, MJ McGrath and KT Media. For more information about this exciting event, please visit www.britcime.com.

The Harbour Master on Amazon

By Daniel Pembrey (visit his website here)

@DPemb