Monday, 29 May 2017

Close Quarters

Retired solicitor and university lecturer Angus McAllister spent a lifetime living in flats in and around the city of Glasgow and built up a wealth of knowledge of the types of people who live in that environment and also of the characters -some larger than life- who inhabit that world.

It would have been a shame to allow all of that rich, eclectic material to go waste, but Angus decided to not allow that to happen, and he drew on that well of knowledge for the inspiration of his murder mystery Close Quarters.

Walter Bain was probably well-named, at least according to his neighbours. 

He was the self-appointed overseer of the tenement block at 13 Oldberry Road, Glasgow.

He had taken upon his own shoulders the mantle of the guardian of what was right and proper for all of the residents of the tenement block. Noise to be kept to a minimum, stairs kept clean at all times (please check the rota for your turn to wash the stairs) wheelie bins to be taken out and brought back at the correct times and into the correct positions, gate to be kept shut, grass cutting rota to be strictly observed and so on and on and on.

So perhaps it was not really all that much of a shock when Walter Bain was found dead in his flat, with his brains smashed in with a fireplace poker.

Who could the killer be? The police were stumped, initially, not due to the lack of a likely suspect but the fact that there was a plethora of potential suspects.All of which could have had a motive to see Walter Bain dead. 

Could it be his wife who claimed to have slept throughout the murder? Or perhaps it was one of his neighbours? Apparently even the more timid seeming neighbours had had their fill of Walter Bain and his rules for domestic living at 13 OLdberry Road. 

Had he caused a neighbour to snap over years of abusive, belittling martinet like behaviour? Or was the murderer someone else, someone from outside the hothouse environment of the tenement?

It was the unenviable task of the police detectives involved to sift through a mountain of evidence and conflicting reports to find out exactly why Walter Bain had to die and who it was who had struck the fatal blows?

The book has a light comedic undertone to it and makes a refreshing and well-written read. It's published by Matador at £8.99 and is available through all good book retailers and online at


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