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His Bloody Project: A Crime Fiction Book Set in Wester Ross


Recently while watching the trailer for the new Game of Thrones spin off House of the Dragon I casually remarked to my daughter that I was brought up in an area called Easter Ross. She immediately thought I was making it up, even though I am nothing but 100% serious all the time, and I eventually could only prove that Easter Ross really did exist by showing her it’s entry on Wikipedia. Gone indeed are the days where she believed that I couldn’t change the TV programme because little men living inside the TV made all the decision about what was on.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Mcrae Burnett set in Wester Ross, which is predictably to the left of Easter Ross, has magically managed to capture the Highlands in the second half of the 1800s and both it’s ordinaryness, and extraordinaryness. Mcrae Burnett, who spent childhood summers in the area and is rooted there by his mothers kin, captures the charactors who grow from it so perfectly it is redolent of the great Highland writer Neil M Gunn.

See, it does exist!

I always have a special fondness for writers who can capture this unique land and people, as so often even those from the area themselves can’t accomplish this feat, and those who have not spent enough time there can render it to nothing more than twee steriotypes.

As well as a faultless picture of a specific time and place Macrae Burnett perfectly constructs the inner life of triple murderer Roddy Macrae, and through his confession, interviews, reporting and various narrative devices we get a clear picture of Roddy’s lack of self awareness, as well as the foiballs and quirks of the village of Culduie, with such a light yet precise touch it is close to masterful.

Macrae Burnett’s work had such impact that it inspired the naming of a new sub-genre, that of False True Crime. True Crime however is a unique and weirdly moralistic, almost defensive, way to define the non-fiction counterpart of a fiction genre. So I would like to offer the sub genre title of Even Bigger Lies Than Crime Fiction Lies.

If you’re interested in more Even Bigger Lies Than Crime Fiction Lies book check out or post on

Chasing The Boogeyman

and for more crime fiction set in the highlands

The Purified.

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