At the end of last month, I found myself in the glorious setting of the University of St Andrews, overlooking the ruins of a castle and beyond that the sea. The sky was black and lightening lit up the scene as we launched Shirley Mckay’s latest book – Fate and Fortune, the second Hue Cullan mystery, set in St Andrews in the year 1581. Shirley was on fine form as she read from the book and the packed hall was absolutely still. As reading turned to party, family and friends were treated to a delicious feast of canapes, kindly prepared by the wife of Shirley’s agent, John Beaton.
The novel itself takes the young lawyer from the streets of St Andrew to the bustle of Edinburgh but returns him firmly to the Fife town, the setting for subsequent books featuring Hue Cullan, the next of which will be published in 2011. Those familiar with the town will recognise the locations – the castle, the cathedral, St Leonard’s College and many more. Those new to St Andrews will find a fine historical novel, set in a very real environment. In Shirley, Polygon have been fortunate enough to discover a writer of enormous talent. Waterstone’s and our key independent booksellers are all firmly behind her.
The drive home from the launch was one accompanied by rain, very large hailstones, thunder and several expensive looking warning lights lighting up the dashboard. Only one stop, at what has to be the finest fish and chip shop in that corner of the world... Dali’s Traditional Fish & Chips at Guardbridge.