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Beneath the Abbey Wall by A. D. Scott

Beneath the Abbey Wall (edition 2012)

by A. D. Scott

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836145,226 (3.54)2
Title:Beneath the Abbey Wall
Authors:A. D. Scott
Info:Atria Books (2012), Paperback, 340 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Mystery, Kindle

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Beneath the Abbey Wall by A. D. Scott



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The third installment of the "Joanne Ross" series finds us in the year 1957 in a small town in Scotland.

Joyce McKenzie Smart gets front and center in this story even though she is dead. We learn a lot about her and her past. Don McLeod the paper's Deputy Editor is arrested for her murder! Unbelievable! What is his connection to her? You will be surprised! And what does the tragic tale of Tinker's children being stolen from them 30 years ago have to do with this? Can Mrs. Smart's invalid husband really get around better than we are lead to believe and could he have killed his wife? Who is Neil Stewart from Canada and how will he impact Joanne Ross' life? Poor Mac, can he & Rob find evidence to exonerate Don and will he ever tell Joanne how he feels about her? Will the Highland Gazette even survive through all of this?

I didn't realize that this was a series and began with the 3rd book. I believe there are now 4 books in this series. I am looking forward to catching up in the right order. Readers must remember that it is 1957, a different time with different values. With that in mind, you will throughly enjoy meeting the people of this small Scottish town. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Read in November, 2013

The setting is familiar and descriptive of the Scottish Highlands while a main character is Canadian with plenty of Canadian historic detailing.

I was absolutely blindsided by this novel. My head was still spinning days after completing the final twist and the final page. A murder committed that effectively brings the past into the present in unusual ways, affecting more than a few individuals and adding relational chaos to several.

Beside the complexity of the intertwining past, the unexpected conclusion dropped my mouth to the floor and turned my thoughts inside out. Indeed, A.D. Scott is definitely another new to me author to follow. ( )
  FHC | Jun 22, 2014 |
As I read this book I realized that I had read an earlier book by this author. I really liked it a lot, too. Beneath the Abbey Wall is a good strong mystery with real characters and a good satisfying conclusion. I loved being in this world. I highly recommend A. D. Scott. My thanks to Edelweiss who offered me an advance copy of this wonderful book to read. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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 guilty, but Joyce’s husband is an influential member of their small community, and he insists that McLeod is culpable, particularly since McLeod is named in Joyce’s will.

The Gazette’s editor, John McAllister, joins forces with charming Rob McLean, a young reporter and the son of the local solicitor who will be representing McLeod, to get to the bottom of what happened. They are assisted further by locals (also from earlier books), Jimmy McPhee and his formidable mother Jenny. Jenny, to the shock of most, was also named in the will. Jenny and Jimmy are Travelers, or Tinkers, as they are sometimes called, a group of itinerant people mostly living in the Northwest Highlands who are looked upon as Gypsies and despised for it. In this book, as in her previous ones, the author takes care to try to expose historic prejudice against this group and to redress it.

Joyce Smart, the murder victim, had tried to help the Tinkers by providing them with permanent addresses, in order to prevent the state from taking away their children.

Meanwhile, the paper is floundering with two of its already small staff gone, and McAllister agrees to take on Neil Stewart, a handsome but mysterious newcomer from Canada who has come to town to do research on his ancestors. Unfortunately for McAllister, who has an eye for his reporter Joanne Ross, Neil sweeps Joanne off her feet. And if that isn’t enough to depress him, his friend Don McLeod is in danger of killing himself if he goes to prison, which he will most certainly do if his friends can’t find a way to exonerate him.

Evaluation: This book dragged a bit more than its predecessors for me, but it has a bang-up twist at the end, and the author’s ability to invoke the Scottish countryside is excellent. ( )
  nbmars | Jan 28, 2014 |
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 a pain, but he's magic with a camera. Young Rob McLean is a gifted reporter who wouldn't mind making a name for himself in front of the camera. Of all the main characters there are only two readers have never learned much about: Don McLeod, the deputy editor, and Mrs. Smart, the office manager. This book centers on them-- the "old guard"-- and as it does, what appear to be inconsistencies begin to show in the story.

Scott reminds us that Inverness is a small town where everyone spends most of their time gossiping and learning everyone else's business. However, no one knew about the marriage between McLeod and Smart. Joanne Ross, whose personal life has already set fire to the local grapevine, falls in love with a stranger, has an affair with him, and her soon-to-be ex-husband doesn't find out? I have to admit that that does strain credulity. You see, I was born and raised in a very small town. (My grandparents lived two doors down from one nosy parker, and I lived across the street from another.) There are people who spend most of their time sticking their noses into everyone else's business. In fact, these people are so talented that Joanne Ross's every move would be observed and reported. There would have been no unseen sneaking in and out of houses. However, I also know that it is possible to live in a small town and have secrets that no one else knows about. That's why the hidden lives of McLeod and Smart don't bother me as much. Most of their history took place well away from Inverness... but those evening meetings when Mrs. Smart would slip through McLeod's back gate? People knew.

With that said, these inconsistencies did not ruin the book for me at all. I love Scott's evocative writing style. She sets a scene so well that I can easily picture it in my mind. The main characters are so real to me that I swear I've had them all over for tea (or in McAllister's case, a wee dram o' Talisker's) many times. I've joined with them in sorrow and in joy, and in unraveling the intricate mysteries they must solve. Each mystery in this series involves uncovering layers of secrets people thought were safely buried, and I enjoy trying to get to the answers first.

It's a brave writer who kills one of her main characters, and I admire Scott for doing it. Now that she's effectively shaken up the "old guard," I wonder how much faster those at the Highland Gazette will work to bring Inverness to the modern world? ( )
  cathyskye | Aug 10, 2013 |
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To Glenn McVeigh
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Ten past nine on a mid-September night, everything in the town was tight shut, including the sky.
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On a dark, damp Sunday evening, a man taking a shortcut home sees a hand reaching out in supplication from a bundle of sacks. In an instant he knows something terrifying has happened. In the Highlands in the late 1950s, much of the local newspaper's success was due to Mrs. Smart, the no-nonsense office manager who kept everything and everyone in line. Her murder leaves her colleagues in shock and the Highland Gazette office in chaos. Joanne Ross, a budding reporter and shamefully separated mother, assumes Mrs. Smart's duties, but an intriguing stranger provides a distraction not only from the job and the investigation but from everything Joanne believes in.… (more)

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