‘See, Charlie, it might be near twenty year since Culloden, but there’s plenty hard feelings still amongst the Jacobites, and no so far under the skin, ken?’
Charlie Rob has never thought of politics, nor strayed far from his Aberdeenshire birthplace. But when John Leith of Leith Hall takes him under his wing, his life changes completely. Soon he is far from home, dealing with conspiracy and murder, and lost in a desperate hunt for justice.
There’s been a MURRRDERRRRRRR
Read more about the background to this enjoyable Scottish Historical crime novel here
I’d like to thank Kelly & Meggy from Love Books Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and introducing me to a new writer to enjoy during these September evenings
The fact that this novel is rooted in fact really adds to the reading experience and introduced me to another historical period and set of characters that I didn’t know that much about and left me feeling intrigued and desperate to go and find out more about the events at Leith Hall for myself
I love investigating the real history and characters found in the books I’m reading and Lexie Conyngham does an amazing job of transporting you back in time and reliving this turbulent and fascinating part of history, told from the perspective of Charlie whose voice gives us a fascinating insight into his experiences and allows us to travel back in time with him and witness these events unfolding – as well as getting the wider impact of these changes from some very different places and perspectives, to boot.
This is a really engrossing read. Conyngham has an excellent mixture of characters in this novel, from the real life characters alluded to above, to some people she has invented to add some more colour and drama to the unfolding tale – which really draws the reader into these turbulent events, providing much food for thought about social class, perspective and morality during this period for a 21st-century readership. You soon start to forget that you’re reading a novel based on real events and start to feel like you have been transported back to this time and are living through this period alongside Charlie and his journey to uncover the truth definitely leads you to some unexpected places and interesting experiences. An unexpectedly diverting read that will be perfect for anyone planning a Scottish staycation this autumn.
I loved discovering this poem about the events, which Ill share below
John Leith’s Ballad
‘It fell about the Martinmass
In the year sixty-three,
There happened in fair Scotland
A griveous tragedy.
When all the nobles were convened,
As they were won’t to d,
And brave Leith Hall among the rest,
To pay what he was due.
Sat birling at the wine,
‘Twas in Archie Campbell’s house
The cruel contest began.
And how the quarrel first took rise
There was no one could know;
But it proved fatal to Leith Hall,
And wrought his overthrow.
Brave Leith Hall went down the stair
Not knowing what to do;
When cruel Mayen followed him
And shot him through the brow.
He left him lying in his gore,
The vital tide stream’d down;
The cruel Mayen fled the town,
And could no more be found.
Leith’s servant bound the bleeding head,
And bore him to his bed,
And covered him with blankets warm,
And due attention paid.
His lady and his children dear
Were brought, and wept full sore;
He spoke some words which gave them hope
Which they had lost before.
But every hope was frustrate soon,
He saw but the third day,
When ghastly Death, that grim grim ghost
Snatch’d his sweet life away.
The bells were rung and mass was sung,
And gave a doleful knell;
His corpse was borne from Aberdeen
And laid down at Leith Hall.
Now for the killing of Leith Hall
And spilling of his blood,
Just vengeance fall from heaven high,
And light on Mayen’s head.
If Brave Leith Hall had been in drink,
The sin I hope is forgiven;
And I may say and trust this day
His soul is safe in heaven.
I wish it there may shine more clear
Than sunshine after rain;
Among the bright meridian stars
Where no more griefs remain.’
From the site
Writer On The Shelf
Lexie Conyngham is a historian living in the shadow of the Highlands. Her historical crime novels are born of a life amidst Scotland’s old cities, ancient universities and hidden-away aristocratic estates, but she has written since the day she found out that people were allowed to do such a thing. Beyond teaching and research, her days are spent with wool, wild allotments and a wee bit of whisky.