Alex Morrow is not new to the police force - or to crime - but there is nothing familiar about the call she has just received. On a still night in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men have slipped into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this the amateur crime gone horribly wrong that it seems, or something much more unexpected?
"Surprised at how much I liked it"
Paddy Meehan is no stranger to murder - as a reporter she lives at crime scenes - but nothing has prepared her for this visit from the police. Her former boyfriend and fellow journalist Terry Patterson has been found hooded and shot through the head. Paddy knows she will be of little help - she had not seen Terry in more than six months. So she is bewildered to learn that in his will he has left her his house and several suitcases full of notes.
Situated on a Turkish island, Portmantle might be the strangest, most exclusive artists' colony around. Its brilliant residents linger for years, all expenses paid and living under assumed names. Relieved of the burdens of time and ego, they are free to create their next masterpieces. Elspeth Conroy (aka "Knell") is a Scottish painter who has been at Portmantle for a decade, a refugee from the hectic London art scene. Her fellow longtimers include Quickman, whose sole book became a classic and paralyzed his muse.
1939. Irena is a young medical student living in Warsaw when the German army invade Poland. Those closest to her are dying and when Irena realises that no one is coming to Poland's aid, it's clear that she is alone. Forced to flee to Britain, Irena meets Richard, a RAF pilot who she's instantly drawn to and there's a glimmer of happiness on the horizon. And then the war becomes more brutal and in order to right a never-forgotten wrong Irena must make an impossible decision.1989.
Two women. One secret. A heart-breaking choice. Skye, 1903. Jessie, the young daughter of a local midwife, is determined to become a nurse one day, but family loss and heartache jeopardise her dreams. Isabel, the doctor's daughter, is planning to follow in her father's footsteps - even though medicine is not considered a fitting career for a woman. And then there's Archie, Jessie's older brother, whom Isabel just can't stay away from. After an unsettling encounter in the woods, Archie disappears, and all their lives are irrevocably changed...
Life in the Glasgow tenements was never easy, but life for Beth is becoming increasingly harsh. In wartime, everyone grabs what brief happiness they can and, in Beth's case, she finds herself drawn to Steve, a flying ace. Their relationship blossoms, but fate deals Beth a cruel hand when Steve is killed in action, leaving her pregnant.
Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma begins with our singular heroine's less than idyllic birth and quickly moves to a spectacular fight that lands Janie and her mother in a local women's shelter. From there it's on to a dodgy council flat and a succession of unsuitable men, including the hard-drinking, drug-dealing, ice-cream-buying Tony Hogan. Kerry Hudson's arrestingly original debut will enthrall listeners with Janie's tragicomic and moving story about coming of age in a non-traditional family amid the absurdities of the 1980s and Thatcherite Britain.
For 16-year-old Lizzie McDougall, life in Glasgow tenements comes as a culture shock after her sheltered upbringing in the Highlands. But for her father, who has just lost his job, Glasgow offers employment. It also enables Lizzie to work in a factory as a seamstress, and it opens her horizons to new friends as well. Especially Pearl, who introduces Lizzie to her boyfriend, Willie, and her cousin, the handsome, happy-go-lucky Jack. And Jack is a real bobby-dazzler.
"Lovely, easy listening."
On a forested island off the coast of Istanbul stands Portmantle, a gated refuge for beleaguered artists. There, a curious assembly of painters, architects, writers and musicians strive to restore their faded talents. Elspeth "Knell" Conroy is a celebrated painter who has lost faith in her ability and fled the dizzying art scene of 1960s London. On the island she spends her nights locked in her blacked-out studio, testing a strange new pigment for her elusive masterpiece. But when a disaffected teenager named Fullerton arrives at the refuge, he disrupts its established routines.
When Janie Ryan is born, she is destined to be the latest in a long line of Aberdeen fishwives. Ahead of her lies a life filled with feckless men, filthy council flats, and bread & marge sandwiches. But Janie isn’t like the rest of them. She wants a different life. And Janie, born and bred for combat, is ready to fight for it.
"Beautiful story of struggle that is NOT a comedy."
They say everyone has a secret. For Grace Adams, her secret lies underground and was called Rose. She was nine years old when she died...Grace has lived in the same idyllic Scottish village for almost her entire life. It is the perfect place to raise a family.
"Outstanding - Narration & Story"
While her mother regards the Locarno dancehall as a den of iniquity, for 17-year-old shop-girl, Nell McClusky, it’s the centre of the universe. Where else is she going to meet the man of her dreams who’ll take her away from the humdrum realities of life on a council estate in 1950s Edinburgh? At first Alistair Rutherford doesn’t look that promising. He dresses more like a student than Nell’s idol, Buddy Holly.
Izzy has joined the Air Transport Auxiliary and can’t believe her luck. She’s getting to do the thing she loves most: flying. On the ground she is a woman who longs to be independent, but who is lying to her family about the job she does. But, in the thrill of the air, she can be free. Izzy’s heroine is her friend, Elspeth, who, on an impulse, signed on to do her bit as a lumber-jill and has been regretting it ever since.
Tilly and her mother are soon to be homeless. But they're not the only ones in need of a new home. When Tilly discovers that the wild goats are going to lose their land, too, she's determined to find a solution - for them both. But will Tilly be able to save the day? Or will she be too late?
Who is making badgers fight dogs for sport near Tilly's home? Do the new boy at school and his family have anything to do with it? Tilly and William are determined to find out.
For 10-year-old Morag, there's nothing magical about the cellar of her cruel foster parents' home. But that's where she meets Aldiss, a talking rat and his resourceful companion, Bertie the dodo. She jumps at the chance to run away and join them on their race against time to save their homeland from an evil warlock named Devilish, who is intent on destroying it. But first Bertie and Aldiss will need to stop bickering long enough to free the only guide who knows where to find Devilish.
Meet the world's most unusual undercover team. It can be tough working for HM Revenue & Customs, but DJ Smith has more than a little help from her trained sniffer cat, Gorgonzola, a moth-eaten Persian with gourmet tastes and a mind of her own. This first investigation finds DJ and Gorgonzola on the trail of a heroin smuggling ring operating in and around Edinburgh.