Book Reviews

Between - by Cyndi Tefft

The Grim Reaper has a Scottish accent.

Amazon link (not affiliated) Between love and heaven’s siren song ‘Between’ by Cyndi Tefft (‎CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (21 April 2011)) I must confess that I don’t like mushy love stories or stories about an almighty god, but I review books that are set or partly set in Scotland, so it was worth looking at. Right from the first chapter, I was hooked. Cyndi Tefft skilfully unfurls this tale of life and death, of time travel - and of course, of love.

Ruby - by Meg Henderson

Murals on a Glasgow wall bring back painful memories

Amazon link (not affiliated) Ruby and her family try to live through hard times and avoid scandal ‘Ruby’ - by Meg Henderson (Black & White Publishing (15 Sept. 2011)) Hand-painted murals are uncovered by workmen renovating some old tenement flats on the High Street in Glasgow. Ruby is invited to see again these murals that were created by her Uncle Jakey when she was a little girl.

The Hanging Shed

A war hero returns to Glasgow to save a friend from the gallows

Amazon link (not affiliated) He trawls both the mean streets of the Gorbals and the green hills of western Scotland in his search for the truth ‘The Hanging Shed’ - by Gordon Ferris (‎Corvus; First Thus edition (1 Mar. 2011)) Douglas Brodie is a war hero and ex-policeman working in London as a freelance journalist. He receives a telephone call from a former close friend, Hugh Donovan - from Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow.

The Celestine Prophecy - An Adventure

The Nine Insights

Amazon link (not affiliated) Drawing on the ancient wisdom found in a Peruvian manuscript ‘The Celestine Prophecy - An Adventure’ by James Redfield (Bantam; First Printing edition (6 Oct. 1994)) The Celestine Prophecy contains secrets that are currently changing our world. Drawing on the ancient wisdom found in a Peruvian manuscript, it tells you how to make connections between the events happening in your own life right now…and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the years to come.

Vroom With a View

In Search Of Dolce Vita On a Vespa

Amazon link (not affiliated) One man’s adventure across Italy on an old Vespa scooter ‘Vroom with a View’ by Peter Moore (Bantam 2005) Unusually for me, I’m not reviewing a Scottish-themed book. It is a rather dull day in Scotland and as usual, the wind is driving the rain against my window. What better way to get away from all the gloom than to read a cheery book?

A History of Scotland

The dramatic story of Scotland

Amazon link (not affiliated) Neil Oliver’s book on Scottish history should be available in classrooms ‘A History of Scotland’ by Neil Oliver (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2009) I wish I was reading history books like these when I was at school - I may have paid more attention. I suspect though that the graphic detail of the fierce battles described in this book may have been heavily edited before any young eyes could read it.

Stan Laurel and Other Stars of the Panopticon

Glasgow's oldest music hall

Amazon link (not affiliated) The Pots and Pans - Glasgow’s Britannia Panopticon Music Hall ‘Stan Laurel and Other Stars of the Panopticon’ by Judith Bowers (Birlinn Ltd 2007) Judith Bowers has written a very entertaining book that traces the history of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. It also contains brief biographies of the stars that appeared there, including a very young Stan Laurel. The Panopticon had a mix of everything; variety shows, zoos, freak shows, novelty acts and in the last few years of its productive life, it became a cinema.

Square Mile of Murder

Horrific Glasgow murders.

Amazon link (not affiliated) Four murders that shocked Glasgow ‘Square Mile of Murder’ by Jack House (Black & White Publishing 2002) This is possibly the best work by Jack House. In this book he describes in great detail four famous murders that took place within one square mile of each other in the city of Glasgow. These are the notorious cases: A Kiss, a Fond Embrace (The case of Madeleine Smith) This world famous case shocked Victorian Glasgow’s upper classes.

Last Exit From Bridgeton

An east end childhood remembered.

Amazon link (not affiliated) A book about the social history of life in the Glasgow tenements ‘Last Exit from Bridgeton’ by James McKenna (The Grimsay Press 2006 paperback) This is the sort of book you would read on a cold winter’s night, sitting comfortably in your armchair next to a warm cosy fire. You would pour yourself a whisky, sit back, let the light of the standard lamp bathe the book in a pleasant glow and you would settle down to enjoy a good read and if you have lived in this city back in the 1950s, this book will bring back so many memories.

Death by Design

Story of the Glasgow Necropolis

Amazon link (not affiliated) The silent necropolis near the cathedral is almost like a city ‘Death by Design’ by Ronnie Scott (Black & White Publishing 2005) On a hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral stands the Glasgow Necropolis, sprawled across 37 acres of land. This Victorian cemetary was officially opened in 1833, A few of the tombs were designed by Alexander Thomson. At the top of the hill is the statue of John Knox, which is surrounded by beautifully designed monuments glorifying those who helped to make Glasgow a great industrial city.