Five of the best books set in Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Guide
- 16 February 2011
Five books set in the Scottish capital, including Kidnapped and Trainspotting
1: Confessions of a Justified Sinner - James Hogg
Don’t be put off by the title, this is a compelling and surprisingly modern novel which confronts the hypocrisy of the self-righteous. It inspired numerous later works, including Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, and has a gripping climax taking place in the mist on Arthur’s Seat
2: Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
This classic adventure story sees the young David Balfour abducted from South Queensferry, shipwrecked, and then caught up in a death-defying chase through the Highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising.
3: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
The role may have been immortalised on screen by Maggie Smith but, as is so often the case, the book offers much more. It chronicles the flaws of the charismatic Edinburgh schoolteacher as she seeks to shape the lives of her girls.
4: Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh
The underbelly of Edinburgh ripped open and laid bare. It lifts the lid on the heroin-fuelled realities of life in the capital’s ‘shooting galleries’ in the 80s and 90s. After a few pages, you quickly tune your ear to the accent, and then relish the rollercoaster ride. Profoundly shocking and very, very funny.
5: Black and Blue - Ian Rankin
Rankin’s series of Rebus books vividly chronicle the changing face of Edinburgh and Scotland. In Black and Blue, the hard-drinking detective’s investigation into the brutal death of a North Sea oil worker also references the Bible John killings of 1960s Glasgow.