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Cautionary Sign, Princes Street Gardens Christmas Fairground Ride

Princes Street Gardens Christmas Fairground Ride

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 22: Leith Walk

Deep Sea, a Fish and Chip shop on Leith Walk.

The Deco elements are mostly in the lettering and neon glass signage:-

Art Deco, Leith Walk, Edinburgh

The Dome, Edinburgh

The Dome is a building in George Street, Edinburgh, now a restaurant.

Its main internal feature is ….. a dome:-

The Dome of The Dome, Edinburgh

Interior:-

The Dome

It has some lovely stained glass windows:-

The Dome

Chandelier:-

The Dome

Entrance doors:-

Entrance Doors The Dome, Edinburgh

Internal door:-

Internal Door, The Dome, Edinburgh

Art Deco sign:-

Art Deco Sign, The Dome, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 21: Corner of George Street and Castle Street

I don’t know how I’d missed this before. I couldn’t have been far enough along George Street – or not looking if I was.

On corner of George and Castle Streets. Housed Viyella and Austin Reed at time of photo.

Art Deco, George Street, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 22: Leith Walk

Deep Sea, a Fish and Chip shop on Leith Walk.

The Deco elements are mostly in the lettering and neon glass signage:-

Art Deco, Leith Walk, Edinburgh

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid

Harper, 2010, 569 p. First published in 2003.

 The Distant Echo cover

I probably wouldn’t have read this – I wasn’t particularly taken by the author’s The Wire in the Blood – but the good lady had just finished it and mentioned it was set partly in my old stamping ground of Kirkcaldy and partly in St Andrews (which I know well.) So I thought I’d give it a go. The locations in the book aren’t restricted to Fife, it does stray to Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, and even Seattle but the main events take place in what the locals like to call “the Kingdom.”

The prologue lets us know of a Fife Police press announcement of a cold case review and a shadowy figure haunting a cemetery before Part One plunges us into the 1978 discovery of the dying body of Rosie Duff by four students at St Andrews University (schoolfriends calling themselves the Lads Fi’ Kirkcaldy) taking a short cut back to their flat after a party. One of them is a medical student and tries to save her life but fails. As discoverers of the body and covered in blood they naturally become suspects. The investigation cannot summon up evidence even to charge them and the case is unresolved but they are still subjected to suspicion, threats and violence – especially by the dead girl’s brothers. McDermid makes a lot of this finger of suspicion and the effect it has on the four and their relationship(s). Part Two sees the resurrection of the case and its reintrusion into the four’s lives. But in the intervening twenty-five years the main evidence from the victim’s clothing has been lost and there seems little hope of progress. But the review has stirred the old suspicions and someone has the four firmly in the frame.

McDermid’s prose is certainly efficient but rarely rises above the workmanlike. The book’s structure, too, made it slightly odd. Part One was more or less scene setting, involved a lot of information dumping and therefore dragged somewhat. McDermid makes passing reference to the fascistic fringe and government encroachments on citizens’ rights in the late 1970s. (That sort of thing has become even worse of late with intolerance having been adopted into the political mainstream and governments eager to seize any excuse to restrict citizen’s rights.)

I would have said that it was cleverly executed except that the resolution was disappointing. It has more holes in it than Stoke City’s defence and depends too much on the prior withholding of information from the reader. In the last (tie-up) chapter it is revealed that one of the four Lads had a piece of information that would potentially have pointed to the murderer but never told the other three – nor the Police – during all those twenty-five years of suspicion. We can only suppose this was to create an artificial sense of suspense and it kind of obviates the point of the book (no matter what reason he might have had for his reticence.) Moreover the murderer seems to have been able to carry the body up a hill to where the Lads stumbled upon it without seemingly getting any blood on himself, even though the victim had a gaping wound.

McDermid has a wide readership. I assume they don’t like taxing their brains overmuch.

Pedant’s corner:- the main drag (St Andrews has a main drag?) Roger Waters’ (Waters’s. And I know he wrote Shine On You Crazy Diamond but did he sing on it? Wasn’t that David Gilmour?) “[Kirkcaldy’s] Town House looked like one of those less alluring products of Soviet architecture” (is more than a bit harsh. It’s a fine buiding.) Raith Rovers’ (Raith Rovers’s,) Brahms’ (Brahms’s,) “had strode” (stridden,) “‘Gonnae no dae that’” (is referred to as if it were a catchphrase from the early to mid 1970s. It wasn’t. Chewin’ the Fat, where it originated, was first aired in 1999.) “‘We lay low’” (we lie low – but it was in dialogue and the character had lived in the US for years and they can’t seem to get the lay/lie thing correct over there,) Soanes’ (Soanes’s.) “The sky was clear, a gibbous moon hanging low in the sky between the bridges.” (sky….sky,.) Sainsburys (Sainsbury’s.) Plus several instances of “time interval later”.

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 20: North West Circus Place

Two bank buildings – one a former bank – in North West Circus Place, Edinburgh, near Stockbridge:-

Frontage, Number 15, North West Circus Place:-

Former Bank, Near Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Detail:-

Detail, Former Bank, N West Circus Place, Edinburgh

Royal Bank of Scotland:-

RBS, N West Circus Place, Edinburgh

Front View:-

Front View, RBS, N West Circus Place, Edinburgh

Good cartouche above doorway and still deco style on the door itself:-

Detail, N West Circus Place, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 19: Shandwick Place

The Co-operative Food om Shandwick Place, Edinburgh:-

Art Deco, Shandwick Place, Edinburgh 1

Upper levels. Rule of three in windows on either side of central portion:-

Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, Art Deco Shop

Detail:-

Detail, Co-op, Shandwick Place, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 18: Fraser’s, Princes Street

On corner of Princes Street and Hope Street.

From Shandwick Place:-

Frasers, Edinburgh

Note clock on corner. Rule of three on windows above:-

Frasers, Edinburgh 2

From Princes Street. gain rule of three on windows:-

Frasers, Edinburgh from Princes Street

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 17: Morningside and Comiston

The Dominion Cinema may be the most striking Art Deco building in Edinburgh’s Morningside but there is some minor deco about the area.

Art Deco style old bank in Morningside, Edinburgh, now an Estate Agent’s:-

Pagan Osborne, Morningside, Edinburgh

Doorway. Note cartouche and surround:-

Doorway, Pagan Osborne, Morningside, Edinburgh

Pagan Osborne, Morningside, Edinburgh

Bank entrance, Comiston Road, Edinburgh. There was a van parked on the street directly in front of this so I couldn’t photograph it from any furher away:-

Bank Door, Comiston Road, Edinburgh

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