It’s always a pleasure to return to Orkney, and to my friends at Kirkwall Library in particular, who have been great supporters of the Rhona MacLeod series, but this event also has resonance for this year's Bloody Scotland crime writing festival.
In a chance encounter with James Crawford (publisher with Historic Environment Scotland) last August in the EIBF author’s yurt, we chatted about the possibility of a 'Bloody Scotland' book of short stories by twelve of Scotland’s leading crime writers, which would celebrate the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, each story featuring one of Scotland’s historic and iconic built locations. I loved the idea and promptly offered to write a story set in Orkney.
With its inimitable Professor of Criminal Psychology Magnus Pirie, Orkney already stars in two of the books in my Rhona MacLeod series: in Paths of the Dead, when a body is found in the Ring of Brodgar, and more recently in None but the Dead, which takes place mostly on Sanday. So I jumped at the chance to weave a story featuring Magnus for the collection.
My choice of location was Maeshowe, the 5,000 year old burial mound, known in old Norse as Orkahaugr, and I took this quote from the wonderful writings of George MacKay Brown as my inspiration:
The book also features stories by Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina, G J Brown, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson, E S Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride, all of whom explore the thrilling potential of Scotland's iconic sites and structures.
The book will launch at the opening night of Bloody Scotland in September this year, but you can pre-order on Amazon now.
The Bloody Scotland 2017 festival programme will launch on June 1st in Stirling, and on 6th June in London.
We have a magnificent line up for readers this year, with fabulous and unique events, which you could only find at Bloody Scotland. So, remember to sign up for the Bloody Scotland newsletter to be the first in the know.
And of course watch out for tweeting from Kirkwall Library on Monday afternoon around 3pm, where we celebrate, at one of the best libraries and archives in Scotland, how important libraries are to our country’s history and heritage.
Pre-order the Bloody Scotland collection of short stories on Amazon
Order Lin Anderson Rhona MacLeod series books on Amazon