A bear-faced murder in Ardnamurchan

A new writer to this genre, Amanda Mitchison has hit the ground running with a new spin to Tartan Noir.

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The author of a crime novel set in Ardnamurchan, where rewilded wolves and bears roam free, will give a talk on her ‘new spin to Tartan Noir’ at Oban’s Waterstones bookstore on Friday, February 18 at 6pm.

The Wolf Hunters, by Amanda Mitchison, takes place in ‘a brutal, chaotic Scotland of the near future, where it’s business at any cost for the people who live there,’ explains the book’s blurb.

‘Archie Henderson, a passionate hunter, has rewilded his vast Highland estate, filling the mountains and woods with wolves and bears. Here he runs wolf hunts with a terrible difference.

‘But when a young man is killed by a bear on the reserve, DI Rhona Ballantyne is assigned the case. As her enquiries progress, she begins to unravel the dark secret behind the death, and uncovers a terrifying truth that will put her own life in jeopardy. Will the hunter become the hunted?’

Amanda Mitchison, grew up in Edinburgh and works as a Royal Literary Fund fellow at Cardiff University. She has published seven children’s books.

Her first novel, Mission Telemark, was a remake (featuring children) of the famous Second World War Special Operations Executive raid on the Vemork power station in Rjukan, Norway, and incorporated foldouts on skinning rabbits and instructions on how to build a snow hole. Her children’s thriller Crog was set in Glencoe and has been described as ‘Stig of the Dump meets 39 Steps’.

The Wolf Hunters is her first adult novel.

‘Her interest in depicting the world as vividly as possible has influenced everything she has written, even her hyper-realistic pet care guide to dragons,’ said her publisher, Fledgling Press.

‘The same realism holds true for The Wolf Hunters. The book involved extensive research into rewilding and the difficulties in making a Highland estate pay its way. The setting is firmly rooted in the wilds of Ardnamurchan and the locations that feature in the novel — the Victorian mansion, the 13th-century tower on its tidal island, the mountains and ancient oak forests, the lighthouse, the old lead mines above Strontian — are all real places.’

One reviewer wrote: ‘This was a thought-provoking novel, that was gritty and dark, philosophical at times, it shows what people are capable of to ensure their survival and yet shows that human kindness does shine through, even if it is sodden in drink and smells of mints.’