MAF members were anything but quiet when we got the chance to talk about Quiet Neighbors with its author Catriona McPherson! We found this book to be highly engaging, and the actions of its well-drawn characters were often problematic, and proved that they all have their vulnerable spots. We also loved the fact that the setting was a wonderful, old-fashioned bookstore in southwest Scotland in the Dumfries and Galloway district, Wigtown – which is a real place that is known for its many bookstores.
We thought Catriona had a real feel and affection for the dusty, disorganized but winsome atmosphere of the Lowland Glen bookstore. This comes through particularly with Lowell. We felt Lowell was almost a physical manifestation of the shop itself. All the characters were fun to discuss as we found all of the leads to be quirky in different ways – with the potential to have turned to their dark side to commit the crimes in the novel. We thought it showed how great a writer Catriona is, that when you come to the final resolutions, they leave the reader satisfied with the fates of this group of “odd ducks”.
Catriona was lovely – and fun! – as always, and the group greatly enjoyed talking to her – particularly about things that we can’t mention here as they involve a number of spoilers. She was pleased to hear that Jude was quite believable as a former library worker, and that her organizational skills are just what both bookstores and libraries need to make the collection more accessible to its patrons and customers. We all love her sense of humor, and had a good time sharing questions & impressions we had in reading expressions we’d never run across before. Catriona seemed pleased when we told her how much we loved the twists with “what-was-buried-in-the-garden”. We thanks Catriona for taking the time to talk with us. We deeply appreciate her warmth, her enthusiasm – and her lovely Scottish accent.
And of course, we now want to visit the bookstores of Wigtown!