Beneath the Abbey Wall

Written by A. D. Scott
Review by Tess Heckel

In 1950s Scotland, memories of the war are being edged out by the new “invasions” of television and rock and roll music. The Highland Gazette, the local newspaper, has been dragged into the 20th century by Glaswegian editor-in-chief McAllister and his crack team of reporters, with the capable help of Mrs. Smart, the aptly-named office administrator. Seldom referred to by her first name, Mrs. Smart keeps the newspaper and its sponsorship running smoothly… until one ill-fated September night in 1957 when she is found beneath the wall of an old abbey, murdered. Who could possibly want to murder Mrs. Smart, and why?

Her death shocks the newsroom deputy editor, Don McLeod, her longtime coworker and close friend who vanishes to drown his sorrows. Soon he is arrested, refusing to deny police evidence pointing to him as the murderer. As the newsroom regroups to investigate, top reporter Rob McLeod and fledgling Joanne Ross, a rising star groomed by McAllister himself, seize the challenge of finding the killer. Soon a young Canadian visitor, Neil Stewart, arrives with secrets from the past that will affect present lives across the strata of society, including a family of travelers and the impressionable Joanne Ross.

This is Scott’s third novel continuing the ongoing, many-layered lives in this small Scottish town. The residents are well portrayed, socially intertwined, and one “character” includes the heavy Scottish weather wherein the stories are told without the intrusion of overly heavy dialect. The author does an amazing job of tying past and present together with the unexpected twists of a good mystery along with intriguing history. Definitely recommended.