Sunday, May 13, 2018
The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle, by Chris Brookmyre
Each of the stories in this book was written by a Scottish author and inspired by one of the nation's historic buildings.
In all fairness I should say I am pretty much the ideal target for this book. You know how I feel about mystery stories and I love Scotland. I have been in at least three of the buildings described herein.
But not Bothwell Castle, where our story takes place. There's a historical reenactment going on and the place is crowded with tourists, and also with some very bad people up to no-good. Soon they are taking hostages and making demands.
A cop named Catherine McLeod takes control of the situation but the hostages' best chance for rescue might be Sanny and Sid, two young sneak thieves who were scooped up with the tourists.
The plot is clever but what I most admire about the story is its language which is alive and feels real. (One of the young thieves make a complaint about telecommunicaations that made me laugh out loud.)
But in the passage below Sid has just called one of other hostages a "Septic," and the man demands an explanation.
"Septic tank. Yank."
This doesnae go down well either.
"I ain't no Yankee. I'll have you know I'm a proud Georgian. I'm from the South."
"The south of whit?" Sid asks.
"The Southern states," Sanny tells him. "Sure, the ones that got pumped in the Civil War."
"Silence," says the gunman... "Do not speak. And give me your phones. All of you."
This provokes a load of moaning, like the prospect of handing over their mobiles is worse than the prospect of imminent death...