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A Small Death in the Great Glen
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A Small Death in the Great Glen (Joanne Ross #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
In the Highlands of 1950s Scotland, a boy is found dead in a canal lock. Two young girls tell such a fanciful story of his disappearance that no one believes them. The local newspaper staff—including Joanne Ross, the part-time typist embroiled in an abusive marriage, and her boss, a seasoned journalist determined to revamp the paper—set out to uncover and investigate the c ...more
Paperback, 393 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Atria Books (first published 2010)
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Richard Derus
Aug 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pearl-ruled
Pearl Ruled (chapter 10)

Horrible. I got through chapter 10 by dint of sheer will. Bad writing, predictable plotting, and nothing redeeming about it. It gets one star because it is, after all, a book. Save yourself the misery: Avoid.

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Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
Busy. If I had to pick one word to describe Scott's debut, it might be "busy." As in too much going on. As in trying to do too much. She gets top marks for an amazing number of interesting characters and for their development, as well as for her ability to evoke a solid sense of Scotland in the 1950s. The main plot is extremely interesting, but an abundance of secondary and even tertiary story lines cause the pacing of the book to suffer and creates an overall inconsistency in the final result. ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I'm giving this one a 3, but it is really more a 2.5. However 2 is for a book I don't like and I did enjoy some parts of this one.
First the langage was a bit difficult. Now while they speak English, there are bits of slang and terms that I didn't know and many of them aren't explained. That made for some rough reading. I've read other books that can giver the language and flavor of a place while still being very readable.
There seem to be too many characters so that none of them are really devel
Paul Pessolano
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
In the 1950's in a small town in the Scottish Highlands a young child is found dead in a canal. At first everyone thought it was an accident until a young girl tells the story of his being snatched by the "hoodie crow". It is then that they find that the child not only was murdered, but that he was also interfered (molested). The two main suspects in the case is a Polish seaman who has jumped ship and is being harbored by the "tinkers" (gypsies), and a Catholic priest whose background has been i ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first of the series. I did read the second book first. Like Ian Rankin, A.D. Scott's crime/mystery stories are about much more than the plot itself. The story takes place in a tiny town in the Scottish Highlands, far from Glasgow and Edinburgh in 1957. Joanne Ross is a young mother working at the local weekly paper, first as a secretary but slowly beginning to write stories as well, much to her abusive husband's disdain. The newspaper itself is going through a transformation as well, ...more
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is quite an immersion into a small Highlands town in 1956, where the circumstances of the boy's death are only a small part of the picture. There's the hidden xenophobia which goes beyond the expected "if you're not third generation, you're a newcomer" prejudice against both foreigners and the Travellers (tinkers), the struggles of a new (and Glaswegian!) editor to bring the local paper up into at least the late 19th century, the blindness to domestic abuse, and Joanne's balance between the ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I don't particularly like the 1950's, so I didn't expect to be able to read and enjoy this novel. I liked the Scottish cultural content and I admired the inner strength of the female protagonist, Joanne Ross. It's odd to have a protagonist who is not the detective and who doesn't investigate the case when the book is a mystery. The actual investigator of the case is a reporter at the newspaper where she works. The problems with prejudice in this small Scottish town reminded me of a similar small ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, scotland
While I thought the beginning was a bit slow going, it picked up nicely and ended up being a good, solid mystery set in one of my favorite settings, the Highlands of Scotland. A.D. Scott did an excellent job of revealing the characters, their lives and personalities. There was a nice twist in the plot, while not obvious, also not far-fetched. Connections between the present day murder of a young boy and past incidents of child abuse were developed with care, revealing interesting details about t ...more
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-edition
I thought this was a fabulous read. It was a hard read because of the subject matter but a well written mystery/police procedural. In some ways it is as dense and dark as Rennie Airth's series with not quite the same command of language that Airth has, but pretty close. I may decide to tackle the series based on this first book.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
A first novel from A D Scott. I was unfortunately disappointed. It had many elements that I was interested in, even associated with – the Scottish 1950’s. But as a whole, I felt the book failed. I found that it tried to be too Scottish, bringing out every possible bad stereotype of 1950’s Scottish life and emphasizing them. Yes, it wasn’t the 21st century, but I felt that the elements as described just didn’t sit as a natural entity. And while trying to be 1956, the book ending up bringing in to ...more
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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 Double Death on the Black Isle
  • Beneath the Abbey Wall
  • North Sea Requiem
  • The Low Road: A Novel
  • A Kind of Grief