A Small Death in the Great Glen

A Novel

A Small Death in the Great Glen

Both probing character study and a driving novel of suspense, here is a novel that will linger in your mind like mist over the Scottish glens . . .

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 crime. Suspicion falls on several townspeople, all of whom profess their innocence. Alongside these characters are the people of the town and neighboring glens; a refugee Polish sailor; an Italian family whose café boasts the first known cappuccino machine in the north of Scotland; and a corrupt town clerk subverting the planning laws to line his own pocket.

Together, these very different Scots harbor deep and troubling secrets underneath their polished and respectable veneers—revelations that may prevent the crime from being solved and may keep the town firmly in the clutches of its shadowy past.


Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Small Death in the Great Glen includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author A.D. Scott. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



A young boy has been found dead in the canal, and the members of a small community in the Highlands want answers. Suspicion quickly falls on a Polish sailor who has gone missing from a Russian ship. The year is 1956, and foreigners to this small Scottish town are guilty until proven innocent. Despite a lack of evidence, the police and townsmen are ready to convict.

The staff of the town’s century-old local newspaper—including new editor in chief John McAllister—may be the only people intent on finding the real culprit. But as McAllister is about to find out, the ghosts of his past connect him with the murder more closely than he could have ever imagined. Obsessed with the case, he is determined to uncover the truth. But preserving the status quo reigns supreme in the community; corrupt town clerks quietly go about their business, battered wives tell no tales, and highly-respected figures hold dark secrets behind closed doors.


Discussion Ques see more

Articles About This Book

Off the shelf vertical blog post

Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Emma Volk

As the days get shorter and crisper I always find myself gravitating toward suspenseful detective stories. Something about this genre feels tailor-made for reading curled up with a blanket and a hot drink—but sadistic murders and nonstop violence...

More Books from this Author

A Kind of Grief
The Low Road
North Sea Requiem
Beneath the Abbey Wall

About the Author

A. D. Scott
Photo by Etienne Bossot

A. D. Scott

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 theater and in magazines, and is currently writing the next book in the acclaimed Highland Gazette mystery series.