Recent Events

Friday 5 February 2016

‘Sewing the Shadows Together’ by Alison Baillie

Published by Matador,
28 August 2015.
ISBN: 9787-1-78462-355-5

Tom has returned to Edinburgh from his life in South Africa, where his parents emigrated thirty years ago, after his teenage sister was murdered. Now it seems the man imprisoned for Shona’s death was innocent ... and the new lives built by Tom and Sarah, Shona’s best friend, begin to unravel once more.

This story of an investigation into the past focuses on Tom, brother of the murdered girl, and Sarah, her best friend. The characters are seeming opposites: Tom is single and a drifter, staying in an uncomfortable B&B, while Sarah is married to a popular radio personality, with children and a beautiful home. However the shared shock of Shona’s murder binds them together. Both are people you want to spend time with, ordinary people who are struggling with the world around them; you sympathise with their budding relationship, as Sarah’s husband’s vanity and selfishness are exposed, and hope things will turn out well for them. The characters around them are also very real: Sarah’s self-centred husband, her bitchy friend, the charismatic teacher, HJ Kidd – all, in different ways, victims of Shona’s death; one of the strengths of this book is its exploration of the effect of this trauma on everyone connected with it. The story is mostly told in the third person, alternating between Tom and Sarah,  but in Sarah’s narration, the story moves into her memories, in first-person dream sequences. The investigation into the past is intriguing, with a number of possible perps, and a satisfying solution. The feel of both present day and 70s Portobello (an Edinburgh suburb) were vividly evoked – I grew up not far from there in just that era, and so it was particularly vivid for me, bringing back many memories. I found too that the plot, characters and overall feel of the novel lingered in my head for longer than usual.

A satisfying past-crime novel with vividly realised characters and setting. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Alison Baillie was brought up in Ilkley, Yorkshire by Scottish parents. She studied English at the University of St Andrews, before teaching English in Edinburgh secondary schools and EFL in Finland and Switzerland. Now she spends her time reading, writing, travelling, playing with her granddaughter and attending crime writing festivals.


Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.






No comments:

Post a Comment