Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bloody Scotland, I Am Here.

This is going to be a short one. Reason: We arrived at the conference hotel (The Stirling Highland) at 8:30AM and our room won’t be ready until 3PM. We’re sitting in the library waiting. Well, I’m sitting; Barbara is lying on the only sofa in the room--a red leather Chesterfield.  See, I am a generous guy.

We have to thank Caroline Todd (of Charles Todd) for the tip. We saw her as we arrived and she said that’s where she camped out on her first day.  I feel as if we’re all part of some wonderful sorority/fraternity undergoing shared initiation rights. :)

View from our room.

The conference location is terrific. It’s a converted 19th Century school with an observatory on the roof. I’m hoping to get up there later to take some photos, but for now the thought of making the climb—after hiking into town to change dollars into Sterling to spend in Stirling—is too much for me. I’m saving my energy for a quick nap so that I can catch Caro at 8:15 tonight (Friday) stun the crowds with an improvisational crime novel formed right before our eyes in concert with with Chris Brookmyre, Kevin Wignall, and ringmaster Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Caro's masterful ensemble quartet

If that doesn’t sound like fun. you obviously don’t know the players. Besides, in a conference where the Green Room is the hotel bar, how can it not be a blast!

Another of Caro's quartets

By the way, the “warm up act” tonight for Caro is a duet with Val McDermid and Peter May…not bad, huh?

As for my moment in the sun—clearly a figure of speech at the moment—it comes on Saturday at 5:00PM, when I’m billed as one of three legal eagles (Steve Cavanagh and Neil White are my mates, moderated by a fourth lawyer, Craig Sisterson) on the topic of “Breaking the Law.”  My guess is it’s a subject intended to anticipate just how I’ll be motoring around this enchanting land over the next ten days. Somehow driving from the passenger seat side always perplexes me.

Tourist stalking unsuspecting author

Still, there is something magical about Scotland that always brings me back, if not in person, in my imagination.  This is my first trip to Stirling, but it shall not be my last. It is the perfect locale for mystery writers.  Steeped in history running back to the Stone Age, with a majestic 12th Century castle looming above the modern city’s medieval core, this  one time capital of Scotland, is steeped in history for so many great battles (think Braveheart) as the link between the Highlands and Lowlands.

Not the castle, but scene of last execution in Stirling.
And now it’s time to put my head on to the table and sleeeeeeep. 

If I wake up in time I’ll post photos. If not, zzzzzzzz.

Second oldest building in Sterling.

Our host, Craig Robertson

Craig's dinner recommendation

Caro's packed house


  1. That was either the longest short post I've seen, or the shortest long post. I can't make up my mind because I'm so confused because you're on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the world. Just make sure you don't end up on the wrong side of the river when you come to the right side of the world.

    1. Right.

      You would love it here, EvKa, you'd be understood. :)

  2. I do notice that you are wearing winter clothes. If you think I am saying this to suppress my envy, you would be right. Wait'll next year!

    1. It's all a deception. We just wanted to wear our Iceland Noir clothes again. :)

  3. EvKa sounds like he's got jet lag! Give Caro a hug and have great time - so wish I could hear your panel on Sunday

  4. Luck maith mo chara. Spraoi a bheith agat.

    1. It took me a while to get this translation right, I imagined it might be Hebrew or Finnish from the look of it, but neither of those worked. My third guess and pay dirt. Here is the translation of the above comment from Tagalog (Philippine) into English (South African). You maith chara luck. Spraoi a bheith bite.


  5. I had an absolute ball when I did Bloody Scotland a couple of years ago, Jeff, and it sounds like you're having an equally good time. The interior of the castle was amazing to see. And hey, some of us think *you* drive on the wrong side of the car/road all the time.

    1. I am trying to do your dustinguished reputation proud, though I don't think anyone can ever achieve your legendary Stirling status. As for my driving, beep beep...

  6. Sounds great, especially the panel of writers.

    Assume you recovered from your "ailment" enough to travel.