Reading My Way Round Dundee; by Chris Longmuir
|Americans in Dundee - at the top of the Law
In the past, authors did not concern themselves with promoting their books. That was a job for the publisher. But times have changed and authors, both traditional and indie, are now responsible for their own promotion. Now, promotion does not come easy to authors who are more attuned to closeting themselves with computer or pen and paper, and promotion is often a chore. However, I had the opportunity recently of engaging in a promotional task which was pleasurable and great fun.
Earlier in the year I was asked if I would accompany a group of American visitors on a tour of Dundee to visit the settings in the Dundee Crime Series, and on the next day accompany them to the fishing
to talk about
my fisher saga A Salt Splashed Cradle.
Naturally I accepted this offer with alacrity. village
It was a small group of fifteen people, and they were spending some time in Dundee following their visit to
crime festival, Bloody Scotland. They were a lovely group and I soon became
friends with all of them.
We started out on the Wednesday morning accompanied by the tour leader and a Blue Badge Guide. The guide provided a running commentary on
Dundee and its history as we travelled through the city.
The RSS Discovery, Scott’s famous polar exploration ship, was the first port of
call, then we moved through the city until we reached The Howff, the ancient cemetery which I use as my initial crime
scene in The Death Game. A flat
topped gravestone provided an atmospheric quality to my reading of the murder
scene, and it was easy for them to imagine the menace in the scene.
Onward and upward to the top of the Law Hill. The view from this vantage point is fantastic. A panorama of
viewed from all sides. But, of course, being a crime writer my excitement was
in the number of places a body could be hidden on the journey to the top.
Next stop was
and a visit to the
Wildlife Centre which has now been promoted to the title of zoo. This was where
I based a scene in Dead Wood. We all
gathered outside the bears’ enclosure, where I read the scene and demonstrated
how you can manage to throw a body (living) over the extremely high, alarmed
and electrified, fence. I did ask for volunteers to prove my theory, but no one
stepped forward. Camperdown
|A typical spinning frame, although the ones I use in
The Death Game are a lot larger
Dundee and a visit
to the heritage site, Verdant Works, a preserved jute factory where it was
possible to see some of the machines working, and find out about the history of
jute. I had planned to give a reading here, but we were running quite late, so
it was decided to do the reading after our meal at the Birkhill Inn. We had a
lovely meal there. I chose the steak pie, and it was delicious. Then, once we
were wined and dined, I stood up and read the mill scene from The Death Game.
Following lunch we travelled to Templeton Woods, the scene of historical
Dundee murders, as well as the
ones in Dead Wood. The ranger met our bus and escorted us to a clearing where
he had a camp fire burning, and he plied us with tea and biscuits while he
talked about the woods. It was here I read some of the Templeton Woods scenes
from Dead Wood. It was quite an experience, with wood smoke blowing round me. I
doubt if I will ever have such an atmospheric reading again.
The ranger escorted us on a walk through the woods, and then it was time to return to the hotel. A brilliant, but hectic day. And I have to do it all over again tomorrow when we go to Auchmithie. But I’ll leave that visit for my next blog post. Be sure not to miss it.