Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dispatches from Bloody Scotland with Catriona McPherson

Bloody Scotland, a mystery fan convention in Stirling, Scotland, took place this past weekend & scottish writer, Catriona McPherson has sent us a great report despite her utter exhaustion from all of the fun. 
Stay tune to the end of the post for a link to our review of Catriona's latest book: House. Tree. Person. 

 It’s Sunday night, I’m sobbing with exhaustion, but I’ve held it together just long enough to send a wee pictorial round-up of this weekend’s Bloody Scotland Festival, as promised, to Mystery Playground.

What a weekend it was! Thirty years of Rebus with Ian Rankin, thirty years of Val McDermid’s crime-writing too, the first Bloody Scotland anthology launched (title: Bloody Scotland, which paves the way for Bloodier Scotland and Bloodiest Scotland, right?), and Denise Mina winning the MacIlvanney award.

Stirling did the festival proud. The opening gala was in the castle (and the women’s loos were in an actual vaulted dungeon with gargoyles – worth a visit whether you needed to go or not) and to get back down off the castle hill afterwards we had a torchlit procession.

The two women on the left here – Dorothy and Barbara – seemed like lovely, gentle, book fans when I met them at a signing, but they’ve got the look of murderous intent down too, haven’t they? At the head of the procession was a bagpipe band. When they started playing Scotland the Brave, a few Scots burst into song. “Sorry,” I said, to Rudy Martinez from Soho Press, “but this tune is pretty special.” 
This tune?” he said. “Wait, you mean they’ve been playing different tunes? Okay.” Ha!

The Golden Lion hotel put on quite a show too – going blood-red all three nights of the festival:

Not to mention the fact that the night manager ran up and down stairs with sandwiches well into the small hours after a long hungry evening. He wasn’t Tom Hiddleston, but he was generous with the chutney and you can’t have everything.

What were the highlights, panel-wise? Well, Ann Cleeves and Douglas Henshall, chaired by the festival director Jenny Brown, was pretty special:

And anyone who remembers Prof. Sue Black’s double-header with Val McDermid at that Bouchercon won’t be surprised to hear that her panel with James Oswald was fascinating and sickening in equal measure.

And now it’s all over for another year. I stopped off on the way back to my mum’s house to take a picture of me and the new book “in front of something iconically Scottish”, as Deb suggested. There’s no proper explanation for what happened next, but I’m going with this: the sequel is called 


Catriona in front of the Forth Bridge outside Edinburgh

Here's the link we promised to Kerry Hammond's review of House. Tree. Person


  1. Great post. Love the picture of Catriona in front of the bridge - that's priceless!

  2. Wow, this sounds like such a great festival! I love the torches.

  3. You are quite adorable. Hands down. XOXOX

  4. Adorable picture. Tell me. Were the villagers with the torches coming for you? Did you escape again? Xox.

  5. Catriona love the name of your next book. Thanks for the report. Now I will put Bloody Scotland on my bucket list.