10 Edinburgh… Hidden Gem Books Set in the City

Been there, done that, read the book? If you think you know Edinburgh on the page why not try these?

The Existential Detective, Alice Thompson  image

The Existential Detective, Alice Thompson

Alice Thompson’s uncanny mystery novel is set in Portobello, Edinburgh’s seaside, where private detective William Blake tries to find the amnesiac wife of an eccentric scientist. The Existential Detective is a spine chilling and thoughtful take on the crime genre.

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Fleshmarket, Nicola Morgan image

Fleshmarket, Nicola Morgan

Set in 1820’s Edinburgh, Nicola Morgan’s Fleshmarket is a thrilling young adult novel which paints a vivid portrait of the city at this time. Robbie is a young boy who, having lost his mother following surgery and his father to debt, finds himself involved with the infamous anatomist Dr Knox, who bought bodies from real-life killers, Burke and Hare.

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The Emergence of Judy Taylor, Angela Jackson  image

The Emergence of Judy Taylor, Angela Jackson

The heroine of Angela Jackson’s debut novel has always taken the path of least resistance until one day she decides to start living on purpose and escapes to the busy streets of Edinburgh. Angela Jackson is a Story Shop alumna and won 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award.

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Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains, Catriona McPherson  image

Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains, Catriona McPherson

The fifth book of the Dandy Gilver series sees the eponymous heroine undercover in Edinburgh during the General Strike of 1926. Will Mr Balfour murder his wife? Not if Catriona McPherson’s intriguing creation has anything to do with it.

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Daemon Parallel, Roy Gill image

Daemon Parallel, Roy Gill

It’s Edinburgh, but not as you might know it. Cameron’s dad has died and his gran offers to bring him back from the dead. As Cameron searches for the ingredients of the spell he befriends a werewolf, bargains with a giant bat-like beast, and struggles to escape the clutches of a powerful spider daemon. A cracking young adult yarn!

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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O'Farrell image

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O'Farrell

Edinburgh in the 1930s. Esme Lennox is outspoken, unconventional and embarrasses her family at every turn. Years later a young woman, Iris, receives a letter informing her that her Great-Aunt Esme is being released from a psychiatric unit. But Iris didn’t even know Esme existed. As gothic as the Scott Monument!

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How to Make a Golem and Terrify People, Allette J. Willis image

How to Make a Golem and Terrify People, Allette J. Willis

Edda, also known as Mouse, wants to be braver but doesn’t know how – until new boy Michael teaches her how to make a giant mud monster. This children’s book fills Edinburgh with thrills, spills and a golem you really don’t want to meet down a dark close.

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A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde, Kevin MacNeil image

A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde, Kevin MacNeil

After a bike crash in a foggy Edinburgh, troubled young actor Robert Lewis wakes to find that life has changed for the darker. And the weirder. He’s still a deceitful egoist but now life seems to be deceiving and manipulating him. A clever riff on RLS’ classic.

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Fatal Last Words, Quintin Jardine  image

Fatal Last Words, Quintin Jardine

In Fatal Last Words, one of Scotland’s most popular crime authors is found dead at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Then another one is offed in Melbourne (another City of Literature). Wait, this is getting way too close for comfort!

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The Ghost Moon, Ron Butlin image

The Ghost Moon, Ron Butlin

Former Edinburgh Makar, Ron Butlin, is also an acclaimed novelist. Ghost Moon is the story of Maggie, thrown out onto the tough streets of 1950s Edinburgh for falling pregnant. It’s also her story as she struggles with dementia in a care home, her troubled past occasionally surfacing for her son Tom.

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