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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

She sees irrefutable evidence of murder... Danger in Edinburgh (The British Book Tour Mysteries) by Emma Dakin

Claire Barclay, owner and tour guide of The British Mysteries Book Tours, leaves her house in Hampshire and her significant other, Mark Evans, puts her dog Gulliver into her van and heads off to Scotland for the start of a fortnight tour...


Published: September 2022

Claire Barclay, owner and tour guide of The British Mysteries Book Tours, leaves her house in Hampshire and her significant other, Mark Evans, puts her dog Gulliver into her van and heads off to Scotland for the start of a fortnight tour.

She expects to lead her guests to various literary sites where authors set their stories. She had just settled everyone into their luxurious Edinburgh hotel when, on a quick outing with Gulliver, she discovers a body. A young woman has been the victim of the serial killer who targets university students.

She calls Mark. But Mark, although a Detective Inspector of the Major Crimes Investigation Team, has no jurisdiction in Scotland. He can only sympathize and advise—and protest her involvement. Her guests meet for breakfast every morning at the Magpie Café where Claire finds characters who live or work nearby, including the local beat copper Sheila McKinnon and Detective Inspector Derrick Hamilton. Christopher, an accountant, brings his dog Suzy. Ryan, a neglected teen, slips in for free food and Bert Anderson, a middle-aged entrepreneur, cheerfully tries to interest everyone in investment schemes.

The waitress is Isla, a university student, who is researching a paper on psychopaths.

All the guests speculate on the murders and attract the attention of the inspector. Claire is frantic to protect her guests from police investigation. At the end of the tour, after she has put her charges safely on their respective planes and trains, Claire takes a last walk with Gulliver and meets one of the café regulars. She sees irrefutable evidence of murder and is so surprised that she betrays her knowledge and puts her own life in jeopardy.


Danger in Edinburgh is set not only on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh but on Iona, Glencoe, Blair Castle grounds and other magical places of Scotland. Claire Barclay takes her tourists, avid readers of mysteries, to the sites where the mystery novels are set. My paternal grandfather came from the Heberdian isle of Benbecula so Scottish culture filtered down to me. My mother’s parents came from Kent, England, so the English culture descended to me as well. I traveled in Scotland several times, once accompanied by two friends with fiddles. We  had many of the experiences that appear in the book , including playing our fiddles in the pub in Dunkeld. Writing Danger in Edinburgh was a chance for me to revisit Scotland with my protagonist Claire.

The people of Scotland differ a great deal from county to county. They speak with a different accent and use some different words depending of where they originate. A woman from Glasgow does not sound like a woman from Edinburgh. A Glaswegian might say, “The old man is crabbit,” meaning nasty-tempered. In Edinburgh they’d say. “He’s right radge.” I love the local idioms even though they confuse me at times. The feeling of the cities is different. Glasgow is gritty, blunt and proud of its working-class history. Edinburgh is regal, elegant and proud of its culture. I enjoyed bringing the different places alive in the book.

I enjoyed the characters as well. The couple from Seattle, the psychologist from Texas, the man from Los Angeles mingle with the locals in the Magpie Café. Isla, the university student who waits on tables for her parents, the owners, chats with the guests of Claire’s tour and with the regular patrons. She is disturbed by the murders that have occurred in her neighborhood and speculates with the diners about who is committing such crimes. She ropes in Claire, as well as the psychologist from Claire’s tour and the Detective Inspector investigating the murders who eats his breakfast at the café to help her with her profile of the killer. She gets uncomfortably close to the killer—when Claire interferes.

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About the author:
Emma Dakin lives in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of British. She has over twenty trade published books, including a 2022 Award winning memoir Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, but continues to enjoy writing The British Book Tour Mysteries. Her love of the British countryside and villages and her addiction to cozy mysteries keep her immersed in discovering the different cultures of the country and the different dialects. She gives us characters who live and work in those villages, isles and cities. She introduces readers to the problems that disturb the idyllic setting. Research is essential to give the reader an authentic setting. It was necessary for Emma to sit in The Whiski Bar on The Royal Mile, to tour Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood and to play her fiddle in the Tay Inn. A trip to the Highlands and the iconic isle of Iona were vital. When not writing or traveling, she paddles with her outrigger crew on the waters of the Pacific Coast and walks her dog who is much less obedient than Claire’s fictional Gulliver.

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