Nostalgia: ‘It was terrifying being led up a bleak hillside’

CRIME writer and grand dame of Scottish fiction Alanna Knight has been looking out on to the imposing features of Arthur’s Seat since she moved to the Capital.

The writer, now in her 70s, has used the location for many of her popular books featuring Edinburgh Victorian Detective Inspector Jeremy Faro and his crime-solving daughter, Rose McQuinn, and it was one of her own early memories of the Capital that inspired a key meeting between Rose and a deerhound.

“I have so many memories of Edinburgh, and I love the fact that I live in a place where I feel like I’m walking past history all the time,” she says.

“My first memory of Edinburgh was when I was a ten-year-old, and I was coming to meet my grandparents who lived in Montrose at the time.

“My grandfather met me in Edinburgh and he decided to take me for a walk to the top of Arthur’s Seat. I was just young so I had no idea what it was, knew nothing about it.

“I was terrified. My grandfather was a very stern man as I remember him, and I didn’t know him that well because I had not met him very often, so it was quite a terrifying thing to have him lead me up this bleak hillside.”

In her most recent novels featuring Rose McQuinn – the latest of which, Deadly Legacy, will be released later this month – the central character wanders on Arthur’s Seat and meets a roaming deerhound.

“That came from the Walter Scott statue, which I always remembered had his deerhound standing faithfully at his side,” she says. “I didn’t like it at the time, but it was only later that my father would get me reading Scott and Dickens, and all these characters that really brought the place to life.”