The News

Contraband's gripping new literary mystery novel


The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau is the new literary mystery novel by Graeme Macrae Burnet, who as a winner of a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award is one of Scotland’s most promising literary talents.

The novel offers something different. Set in the unremarkable French town of Saint-Louis, with the maladroit Manfred Baumann as its main character, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau effortlessly conjures up an otherworldly atmosphere that simultaneously intrigues and unsettles.

In the novel, we meet Manfred Baumann, a loner and socially awkward. He spends his evenings surreptitiously observing Adèle Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at his local bistro. But one day, she vanishes into thin air.

When Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, begins investigating her disappearance, Manfred’s repressed world is shaken to its core and he is forced to confront the dark secrets of his past.

The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau is a compelling psychological portrayal of a peculiar outsider pushed to the limit by his own feverish imagination. It is by turns haunting, strange and mesmeric – and destined to achieve cult status. 

A Capital Union shortlisted for HWA Debut Crown

 Victoria Hendry

A Capital Union, Victoria Hendry’s novel that focuses on the Scottish independence movement during World War II, has made it on to the shortlist for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown for best first historical novel.

Following the fortunes of young Agnes Thorne, whose new activist husband brings her into contact with the Scottish nationalist movement in wartime Edinburgh, A Capital Union cleverly shines a light on issues of loyalty and independence.

It will compete against She Rises b y Kate Worsley (Bloomsbury), Secrets of the Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford (Atlantic Books), Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchmann (Serpent’s Tail) and Child of Vengeance by David Kirk (Simon and Schuster) for the £2,000 prize.

The judges said, 'Each of these books is exceptional, and to have written it at any time in a writing career is an achievement: to have written it as a first novel, is exceptional.'

The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on 23rd October, the first day of the Harrogate History Festival.

Scottish culture inspires edgy, modern tales of womanhood


The original ‘Four Marys’ were ladies-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots. According to legend, one was executed for murdering her own baby. In Jean Rafferty’s new quartet of novellas, four modern Marys – Mhairi, Mara, Mercedes and Mariana – have their own dark tales to tell…

Is motherhood every woman’s destiny?

‘A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.’ So said Agatha Christie, ambiguously; for the bond between mother and child is deep, but sometimes, motherhood does not come naturally.

Obsession, longing, deceit and even murder feature in Jean Rafferty’s The Four Marys, published on 5 June 2014. This collection of provocative novellas gives a modern twist to tales of women for whom all is not necessarily as it seems, or as each woman would want her life to be. The four stories included are:

The Sealwoman On ‘wishing night’ seals can become human for a few short hours. When Mhairi comes ashore that night, she is about to find out whether being human really is as wonderful as it appears.

A Faerie Child When a woman suffers nine miscarriages she becomes desperate to have a healthy baby. Desperate enough to try anything…

The Diva A world-famous opera star becomes pregnant and experiences the pain and the passion that she sings about in her beloved arias.

The Four Marys A student is having an affair whilst researching the legend of ‘The Four Marys’ – which tells of a lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots being executed for killing her own child. Her love is real, but is history repeating itself?

Drawing on universal themes of womanhood and on history, culture and lore, The Four Marys is a riveting exploration of the complexities of motherhood: edgy and engrossing, moving, yet at times, disturbing.

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