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Beneath the Abbey Wall (Joanne Ross #3)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  414 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Now the acclaimed mystery series about a newspaper staff in a 1950s Highlands town continues--everything is quiet and quaint until one of their own is murdered. In a small Scottish town, the local newspaper staff doesn't see much excitement. But that all changes when their no-nonsense office manager Mrs. Smart is found murdered one dreary autumn night. For the staff of the ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Atria Books (first published November 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,314)
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Susan Johnson
3.5 stars

This is my least favorite book in the series so far. It's set in the late 1950's in the Scottish Highlands so I love that. Joanne Ross has made the startling step of leaving her abusive husband and become a budding reporter for the local weekly newspaper. She is somewhat shunned for her decisions. A woman working? Living away from your husband? Tut, tut, tut.

In this one a newspaper employee is murdered and another one is arrested for the murder. The paper is in chaos and the editor is
Amber Brown
Maybe I’m just not meant for the genre. It is entirely possible that A.D. Scott’s latest novel is a work of brilliance in the world of mystery titles, but I would never guess.
The story opens with journalist McAllister (does he have a first name?) being called in to the morgue to identify a body – it turns out to be an employee of his, Mrs. Smart. When he delivers the news to his team that she has been murdered, nobody takes it as hard as Don McLeod, who drinks himself into a stupor before bei
This is the third in MS Scott's series about the northwest of Scotland, at the outflow end of the Great Glen, in the 1950's. American rock has just begun to reach the north so the weekend dances are beginning to have two halves, the old folks and the teenagers. The Highland Gazette is thriving under the new editor, Joanne is becoming accepted as a reporter and Rob's band, the Meltdown Boys has added some Everly Brothers to their play list. It's fine until the Sunday evening when Mrs. Smart's bod ...more
I am not sure what I expected from this mystery novel, and I'm still left hanging as to whether that helped my rating for this.

"Beneath the Abbey Wall" contained all of my favorite elements for the perfect gothic mystery: historically placed, set in Scotland, small community, a mysterious death that throws everything off-balance. The characters were nothing spectacular, which is excellent: no one wants to read about the most perfect person on the planet. We have the traditional commanding McAlli
Mar 01, 2013 Janet rated it really liked it
Murder Mystery
1957, Inverness,Scotland. The 3rd book in a series of the "Highland Gazette."

Murder, Mayhem and Melancholy find their way among the staff of the "Highland Gazette", this time. One is viciously killed (Mrs. Smart) - found dead beneath the Abbey Wall. Another has been arrested (Don McLeod) for the murder and remains in the gaol (jail) - broken down and without hope. The Police have their man. A seemingly open and shut case. It is up to McAllister and the rest to find the guilty party
Dec 02, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After my professor handed me my first advanced copy of a book ever, I quickly began reading it. Because she covered the back, I knew virtually nothing about the book or its author. I think going into it so blind led to some disappointment on my end.
The prologue suggests an otherworldly presence the night an unnamed man finds the Highland Gazette’s office manager, Mrs. Smart, dead. Though not partial to murder mysteries, I love paranormal stories. Thus, the prologue really peaked my interest. Sev
Jan 03, 2013 Peggy rated it it was amazing
What can I say... Ms. Scott did it again! In this third installment of the 'Highland Gazette' series we are transported back to 1957 to the small town in Scotland and a visit with the staff of The Highland Gazette! I've been waiting a year for it and I wasn't disappointed!

Mrs. Smart wasn't really a key player in the last two books, just a background character. This book she gets front and center even though she is dead. We learn a lot about her and her past. Don McLeod the paper's Deputy Editor
Hana Howard
The story revolves around characters involved in unrequited love, seeking love, and disregarding love. The mystery seems to be a background for these people to learn from their mistakes of the past and get things right going forward.

The setting is the Highlands in the year 1957 in a small Scottish town. When Mrs. Joyce Eileen Smart the office manager of the local newspaper is found murdered, the staff of the paper find themselves at the center of news. For the staff of the "Highland Gazette," th
Oct 28, 2014 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story line was interesting. I did not read the first two books in the series (I didnt realize this was book three until further into the story) but I dont feel I missed too much background. The story flowed well and while I could tell I was missing some information, it wasnt relevant to the current mystery. The story follows a group of co-workers who have a member of the group murdered and another charged in it. The men in the group work together to try and find out who really killed Mrs. Sm ...more
Sep 12, 2014 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Tragedy strikes the Gazette's office when one of their own is found dead, and before long nothing is as it seemed. Even Joanne's life is no longer simple - she's falling for the handsome foreigner - and McAllister fears he might lose her.
Barbara Townsend
Mar 25, 2013 Barbara Townsend rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I so wanted to enjoy this book. I love books where the locale is Scotland. I normally read novels in a series in order, but I bought this novel in a bookstore in Canada. There were references to prior novels that I disregarded. The omniscience and multiple PVs were distracting. I had to re-read the first ten pages because I couldn't figure out who was who and what was what. The long strings of adjectives were annoying. Disjointed, hard to read, sentences seemed almost out of order.
Diane S ⛄
3.5 This is the third book in this series, set in Scotland in a 1950's newsroom. I love how each of her book covers have a different color tartan plaid. This is a solid who done it, not alot of blood and gore, no gruesome serial killer, just a character centered mystery and old fashioned follow the clues. Along the way we are treated to some of the Scottish countryside and some very relateable characters. I enjoy these. ARC from publisher.
Jan 28, 2014 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in a somewhat cozy murder mystery series set in the 1950’s in the Scottish Highlands. The recurring characters operate a small newspaper, the Highland Gazette. Sometimes, in order to get the bottom of a story, they end up investigating and solving a crime as well.

In this book, one of their own, the the Gazette’s office manager, Joyce Smart, is found murdered. The paper’s deputy editor, Don McLeod, is the chief suspect. The other members of the staff can’t believe Don is gu
This is an amazing mystery--atmospheric, character-driven, surprising (and I won't say more). I expect it will make an excellent discussion book. My favorite quote from the book: "Hector had spent the past weeks scuttling around like a demented guinea pig." How's that for description? Hilarious.
May 26, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
The third installment of this series is darker and sadder. Don McLeod, dedicated editor of the Highland Gazette, is accused of Mrs. Smart's murder. Joanna Ross, Rob McLean, and John McAllister search for Mrs. Smart's killer. Canadian researcher and former journalist Neil Stewart worms his way into the Gazette and highland life as he searches for his birth parents. As they dig into Mrs. Smart's life, they uncover many truths, including the truth about her marriage and her relationship with McLeod ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
John McAllister leads a small newspaper staff determined to move the weekly Highland Gazette into the mid-20th century. However, when the business manager, an older lady who holds the paper’s production together, is murdered things threaten to fall apart. It doesn’t help that the deputy editor is in prison charged with the killing. The setting and most of the characters show a lot of promise for an interesting series. However I found, Joanne Ross, the central figure, quite repulsive. In this ins ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this gem up for a song at a chain bookstore - I was hooked into buying it by the fact that the story centered around a local newspaper in Scotland.

We never meet Mrs. Joyce Smart, the murder victim, but through her co-workers and towns people who want to see her killer brought to justice, we come to know her as a full character in the story.

My heart ached along with Joanne Ross's, McAllister's and Don McLeod's and leaped with joy whenever there was a shred of hope glimmering on the hor
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Jan 14, 2016 Kris - My Novelesque Life rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical cozy mystery fans
(The Highland Gazette: #3)
Written by A.D. Scott
2012, 352 Pages
Genre: historical, mystery, fiction


In Book one and two Mrs. Smart - the newspaper's office manager - is a background character. We do not find out much about her but she is reliable and holds the Highland Gazette together. The lack of detail of her life and her no nonsense attitude intrigued me and I was hoping in this book we would learn more.

It has been a few months since the last novel and in this book the
Jul 18, 2014 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The staff at the "Highland Gazette" are back. In this installment, Mrs. Smart, the office manager is found murdered on the steps of an abbey. Don MacLeod is arrested for the murder and imprisoned. McAllister and the other members of the Gazette staff all try to find out who was the murderer. Was it a stranger, or Mrs. Smart's husband, a former soldier who lost both legs in India. This is a good book with a good plot. I knew who did it but couldn't figure out how it was done. A very good read.
Nov 02, 2013 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1957 in a small town in the Highlands of Scotland when a man taking a shortcut home sees a hand reaching out from a bundle of sacks. This inciting force at the beginning of the novel starts the action immediately. The murdered woman turns out to be office manager for the local newspaper called the Highland Gazette. Joanne Ross is a reporter who assumes Mrs. Smart's duties while a freelance writer working on a thesis adds intrigue and a romantic intrigue to the office dynamics.

The editor o
Mar 04, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't too crazy about the first book, but was intrigued by the 2nd book. With this book-I'm completely hooked. I love how the author took minor characters introduced in the previous books and made an intriguing murder mystery. Hoping there will be a #4 in this series!

"Now the acclaimed mystery series about a newspaper staff in a 1950s Highlands town continues--everything is quiet and quaint until one of their own is murdered. In a small Scottish town, the local newspaper staff doesn't see muc
June Ahern
I am unsure what to think of this novel, "Beneath The Abbey Wall" by A.D.Scott. I chose it because of the setting, a small town in the Highlands of Scotland. The title and cover were also enticing. The story, which takes place in the later 1950's, begins with a murder of a well respected no-nonsense, but quite private woman, Mrs. Smart. The murder of Mrs. Smart, the office manager of the local newspaper, "The Highland Gazette" is of course, a shock. Such a nice woman! They declare. Never the les ...more
AD Scott
This is the third in the series featuring Joanne Ross, a reporter for a weekly newspaper in small town close to Aberdeen, Scotland. The series is set in the mid-1950’s, when single mothers had their babies taken from them, “for the good of the child”, and divorce was practically a crime. Joanne is separated from her abusive husband, trying to find the proof of his infidelity to divorce him, and the mother of two young girls. And she works at a job outside the home!
Suspense Magazine
It’s 1957 in the Scottish Highlands. American rock ‘n roll music is popular and so is television, but the government still blanks the screens for one hour in the evening. There are small town successes and woes for the staff of the local newspaper. There is also murder and one of their own is suspected. Welcome to the second Highlands murder novel by A.D. Scott.

Mrs. Smart, the Gazette’s office manager is found knifed and the paper’s top editor, Don McLeod is the number one suspect. The staff mus
Mar 19, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Mystery fans who like Tartan Noir Scottish mysteries might enjoy A.D. Scott's three mysteries set in a small highland town in the 1950's.

A Small Death in the Great Glen (2010)
A Double Death on the Black Isle (2011)
Beneath the Abbey Wall (2012)

Not quite dark and brooding enough to be considered 'Tartan Noir' and definitely not as dark as Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus mysteries, these books will appeal to fans of Val McDermid or Kate Atkinson. I just finished the third in Scott's series.

Beneath the
Cathy Cole
Dec 08, 2012 Cathy Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again A.D. Scott has worked her magic and drawn me into the world of Inverness, Scotland, in the late 1950s. Attitudes may be changing quickly elsewhere, but in this small Highland town, change doesn't come easily... or fast. The cast of characters fit this setting beautifully. McAllister, a newspaper man from Glasgow, wants to modernize the paper and make it a success. Reporter Joanne Ross has put an end to her abusive marriage. Hector Bain, staff photographer and "serial nuisance" may be ...more
Nov 01, 2012 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beneath the Abbey Wall is a wonder. It's set in a little Scottish town that you can just picture in your mind, with a weekly newspaper, quirky characters, and a handsome stranger who wears blue jeans [unheard of]. The year is 1957.

A love story, or maybe two or three. A haunting theme of children stolen from Tinkers [Gypsies] and put in orphanages or sent abroad for adoption. A woman is murdered; a suspect arrested. His lawyer and most of the town think him innocent, but how to prove it?

A single
Janet Meissner
Sep 04, 2014 Janet Meissner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I loved the Scottish setting. A universally liked woman on The Highland Gazette in a small Scottish town is murdered. It appears that if her murder is to be solved, it will be up to the paper's staff to do the investigation. The murder seemed solved until I read the last few paragraphs. Now I'm going to have to pass the book around to get friends to read it and weigh in on who-dun-it.
Margaret Wichorek
Jun 23, 2014 Margaret Wichorek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THis is the third mystery in a series set in the Scottish Highlands. The principal characters are mostly employees of a small weekly newspaper ,circa mid 1950's, along with a some local townsfolk and a some Travelers(tinkers). The books are very atmospheric. the characters interesting and the plots are excellent. There is one more book yet to read in the series and I'm looking forward to that.
Another excellent book in this series about a newspaper in 1950's Scotland. This one stood out for me because of the untidiness of the plot: though justice was served, truth didn't necessarily prevail. Much more realistic, though not as comfortable as when everything's tied up neatly, which after all only happens in fiction.
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Pen name of Ann Deborah Nolan.

A. D. Scott was born in the Highlands of Scotland and educated at Inverness Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She has worked in theatre, in magazines, and as a knitwear designer and currently lives in Vietnam and north of Sydney, Australia.
More about A.D. Scott...

Other Books in the Series

Joanne Ross (6 books)
  • A Small Death in the Great Glen
  • A Double Death on the Black Isle
  • North Sea Requiem
  • The Low Road: A Novel
  • A Kind of Grief

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