Tag Archives: Scottish authors

Celebrating two Authors Born in Kirkcaldy ~ Val Mc Dermid and Andrew Fyall


Val Mc Dermid

Val Mc Dermid is a well known author worldwide, Scottish but also celebrated in her home town of Kirkcaldy in fact she is seen regularly  at Stack’s Park watching her home side Raith Rovers.

Val McDemid is also a prolific tweeter engaging with her readers and twitter friends in a humorous and light hearted fashion @valmcdermid

Here ‘s my latest book review of one of her books, chosen because one of the main locations is in Fife:

A Darker Domain by Val Mc Dermid

This is a multi layered crime / mystery, with flashbacks to the time of the tumultuous miners’ strike in Fife, as DI Karen Pirie works to solve two seemingly very different cold cases.

Meanwhile Bel Richmond, a freelance journalist, finds a sinister poster and some blood stains in an abandoned villa near where she is staying in Tuscany. This thrusts the lies and deception of the past right into the present as the Italian police begin to investigate. Unraveling the truth has unforeseen and tragic outcomes leaving the reader reeling.

To say that I was gripped by this novel was an understatement, not surprising baring in mind the calibre of the author.

‘A Darker Domain’ was all the more meaningful for me since the Fife coastal locations were now so familiar. Not only that but the social historical aspect of the miners’ dispute added a realistic dimension to the events. Tension was literally in the air – provocation to carry out a kidnapping which led to dire consequences.

I would never have guessed the end of the novel ~ a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

I’ve recommended it to a couple of friends already and will read the first in the series. ‘The Distant Echo’ is now on my list of ‘to read’ books.

Andrew Fyall

Andrew Fyall was also born in Kirkcaldy, was a reporter for the Daily Express and a Foreign Correspondent during the 1960’s and 1970’s. He now lives in Edinburgh.

I’ve recently been recommended to read his memoir. Here’s my review:

First in, Last Out: Memoirs by Andrew Fyall

51wWgHgKjYL._SY346_I was gripped from beginning to end of Andrew Fyall’s book through political upheaval, potential and real wars, terrorism and the world of entertainment. Reading ‘First in, Last Out’ was all the more poignant since I was reading first hand accounts of events I’ve been moved by throughout my life including The Cuban Missile Crisis, Martin Luther King and The terrorist attach at the Munich Olympics. The events Andrew Fyall covered were wide ranging but also pivotal in the state of our world.

The life of a Foreign Correspondent was described in stark honesty, his successes, his reliant on instinct, ingenuity and sheer guile. Incredible but hidden behind his words, I felt, was another life of the long suffering wife and family as Andrew Fyall was sent off to far flung places at a moment’s notice, often giving hours between one assignment and the next.

Last in, First Out also gave a frank account of the ruthlessness of working for The Daily Express, one of the top newspapers in its heyday.

Excellent book.

It is fitting that I should review Andrew Fyall’s memoirs at a time when I am focussing on Kirkcaldy, specifically Kirkcaldy Foodbank. (All profits of my own fantasy/memoir ‘The Healing Paths if Fife’ are going to support the Kirkcaldy Foodbank during November and December 2019.) See a previous blog post


Do you know any other authors who were born in Kirkcaldy? Please let me know if you do.


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Filed under Book reading, Events, Fife, Scotland, Scottish authors

Scottish Author ~ Book Review ~ Hamish Brown and EAST of WEST, WEST of EAST

Following the series of blog reviews of ‘Contemporary Scottish Authors’ in the Spring I thought I’d continue by introducing you to other exciting literary discoveries made since I moved north of the border.

51egwbmuHVL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Hamish Brown is a prolific local author who lives in Burnisland, better known for his exploratory books about expeditions on mountains both here in Scotland and further afield in the world.

‘East of West, West of East’ is quite a different venture for Hamish. This is an account of the life of his family at the time of the fall of Singapore and their amazing escape from Japan, finding themselves refugees, seeking shelter and safety. The parallels with people today in their plight was not lost on me as I was reading.

Hamish has chosen to use actual letters to take you back to the thoughts, fears and unimaginable experiences of his close family, especially his father. With Hamish’s eloquent style, the reader is able to fill in the gaps and imagine living alongside both those fleeing war and those awaiting news at home in Scotland.

A compelling read of a period of history of which I am less familiar, made all the more poignant by having met the author on numerous occasions.

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Book Reviews of Contemporary Scottish Authors

In summary of my December book reviews to Celebrate Contemporary Scottish Authors here are the links to all of the reviews:

Celebrating Scottish Authors Month ~ Buddhada by Anne Donovan
Dec 28, 2017 4:12 PM
Celebrating Scottish Authors December ~ The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
Dec 22, 2017 4:12 P
 Celebrating Scottish Authors December ~ The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
Dec 19, 2017 6:08 P
Celebrating Scottish Authors ~ J David Simons ~ An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful
Dec 15, 2017 6:46 PM
 Scottish Contemporary Authors Month ~ The Wrong Box by Andrew C Ferguson
Dec 12, 2017 4:48 PM
 Celebrating Scottish Authors ~ Margaret Skea ~ The Turn of the Tide
Dec 8, 2017 5:49 PM
 Celebrating Scottish Authors ~ Mark Douglas Home ~ ‘The Woman who Walked into the Sea’
Dec 1, 2017 6:15 P
All of the above are great reads. The list of authors are by no means exhaustive but I have really enjoyed this indulgence of exploring new authors to me and I will be looking out for their works in the future.

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Filed under Book reviews, Scotland, Scottish authors