The question has to be asked: was Alexander really a villain? It is worthy of note that Alexander Findlay, one of the few Scottish pipers to survive the horrors of the Great War, returned from the battlefields as an injured hero. After that ordeal, shouldn’t life have become kinder to him? Admittedly, straying from the straight and narrow was wrong, but his untimely death shortly afterwards in the centre of Glasgow seems so unfair: and his legacy? He may have been a hero, but his ill-gotten gains became a shameful family secret. Are the Findlays up for a challenge ‘from the grave’? Will there really be a worthwhile prize? The story involving six generations of the Findlay family gradually unfolds when Tom visits the loft “looking for the ‘jeely pan’…”
Ciaran Folan –
Mac Black has woven an intriguing tale out of a visit to the stuff in the loft. Where else in the home has such stories to tell?
There is plenty of humour in the interaction between family members, and also pathos in a few of the other lives in this Scottish family history. So this book can be read on different levels. And the wee village of Aberloudie wraps its dignity round it’s knees. I particularly liked the the pace with which we are led in successive chapters through parallel lives, and it’s intriguing to discover where they lead. Hamish’s marriage failure because his ship riveter’s deafness defies knowing whether he ever really agreed to marry is to me the saddest of the pathos.
Some of the chapters describe tragic wartime events and I found these stories enjoyable, because they are emotional, but in no time you are back among the family banter; a good combination, and very smoothly done. There are some memorable gags, for me, where the pugnacious father first tries negotiation to get rid of the daughter’s boyfriend, whose motives he suspects, by offering him his expensive set of golf clubs, and the lad wants to know if the balls and tees might be included!!