Excerpt from Beneath the Abbey Wall by A. D. Scott, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Beneath the Abbey Wall

by A. D. Scott

Beneath the Abbey Wall by A. D. Scott
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Nov 2012, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

After twenty-five years as a journalist, McAllister was used to late nights, so when the doorbell rang at twenty past eleven he was awake, reading, and on his third single-malt whisky of the evening. As he put down his book and rose to answer the door, he felt uneasy. Who would be awake in this Scottish Highland town this late on the Sabbath?

Police Constable Ann McPherson stood on the doorstep. "Mr. McAllister. We've found a woman. She's dead. One of my colleagues thinks she works—worked—at the Gazette . . . "

WPC McPherson saw a flash of dread cross McAllister's face. "It's not Joanne."

Ann McPherson knew McAllister and liked the editor of the Highland Gazette; liked his wit, his intellect, and secretly admired his tall dark brooding elegance. She had also guessed at his fascination with Joanne Ross, a reporter on the Gazette, a woman fifteen years younger than his forty-five, a woman whose smile and changeable-as-the-ocean-blue-green eyes and ever curious mind had entered his dreaming—awake and asleep.

"Come in." Not waiting for an answer, he went straight to his sitting room to pour another dram.

"Who is she?" he asked after he gulped the whisky down.

"That's why I'm here. We need your help to identify her."

He noted she did not say what had happened and knew this was not good. "I'll get my coat."

Until now, September had been glorious. A late burst of warmth and color and crystal nights, the glens and mountains orange and red and ochre, the islands in the river that cut the town in half, were decked out in an outburst of beauty that made the heart glad. But this Sunday, winter gave advance notice with a grey dreich-damp cold shroud, covering the town and mountains, spiced up by a steady nor'easterly straight off the North Sea that sent even the seagulls inland. It seemed a fitting day to end in death.

McAllister was grateful that on the short journey across the river, WPC McPherson said nothing.

The car park for the mortuary was at the back of the building and dark except for a single faint light above a door marked "Entrance." The exit was not marked, but McAllister was aware of the tall robust brick chimney and wondered if it was the exit, or perhaps entrance, to the underworld.

"McAllister."

"Detective Inspector."

They said no more. Detective Inspector Dunne led the way down a corridor and held open the thick green doors to the high-ceilinged room, where a mortuary attendant was waiting beside a trolley. A rubber sheet—green, color-coordinated to match the door and tiles—covered the figure awaiting McAllister's verdict. He mentally blessed the deities, in which he had little faith, for the three shots of malt he'd had earlier. Or was it four?

He took a breath through his mouth, then nodded.

The light was harsh, making shadows. It highlighted the look of surprise that McAllister fancied he saw on the brow of her clearly dead face. He never understood that epitaph on tombstones, "Only sleeping."

"Enough," was all he managed to say, before turning and walking out into the corridor.

"I have to ask you formally . . . " DI Dunne came up behind him.

"Can I smoke?" McAllister asked.

"In here." WPC McPherson indicated a waiting room.

The police officers waited until McAllister filled his lungs, exhaled, before putting the formal question.

"Mr. McAllister, do you recognize the deceased?" the inspector asked in a formal policeman's voice.

"I do. It is, was, Mrs. Smart, business manager at the Highland Gazette. I don't remember her first name."

As he said this he felt a rush of guilt. This was the woman he had worked beside for a year and a half. This was the woman who made sure the Gazette functioned, the woman who was as essential to the newspaper as the printing press.

Excerpted from Beneath the Abbey Wall by A. D Scott. Copyright © 2012 by A. D Scott. Excerpted by permission of Atria Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Scottish Gypsies/Travellers

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Summer Before the War
    by Helen Simonson
    Set on the cusp of World War I, The Summer Before the War exudes strength and spirit as a small town...
  • Book Jacket: Lincoln in the Bardo
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders
    George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo is a philosophy discourse brilliantly disguised as a ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tender
    by Belinda McKeon
    Most of us have heard the slightly trite saying: "If you love something, set it free." But one can ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

The first book by an American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Fifth Petal
    by Brunonia Barry

    Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A Piece of the World
    by Christina Baker Kline

    A stunning novel of friendship, passion, and art from the #1 bestselling author of Orphan Train.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

It is always darkest just before the day dawneth

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.