Edinburgh Book List

Yes, I know, this list should really have something by Walter Scott.

This evening finds me sat in a hotel room in the beautiful and atmospheric city of Edinburgh. I’m here for work, so no sightseeing for me(boo!) though it is difficult to avoid the stunning sights of Prince’s Street and The Royal Mile as you walk from Waverly Station. Having finished work for the evening, I wished I’d brought some reading with an Edinburgh inspired flavour. Maybe the next time I visit I will have put together a more comprehensive list of books to read in Edinburgh. In the meantime, here’s an off the top of my head list of books I’ve enjoyed which have an Edinburgh setting:

 After You’d Gone– Maggie O’Farrell

The best of all Maggie O’Farrell’s novels, After You’d Gone explores what Alice, languishing in a coma, saw at Edinburgh Waverly Station that was so terrible it made her get straight back on a train to London and walk out in front of a car. I read this in my second year of university before making my housemates read it. For about a month solid we spent every evening crying… in a good way… I think.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie– Muriel Spark

The novel about an Edinburgh school teacher and the unique education she gives her charges, a select clique who become known as the Brodie set. It’s been a very long time (over ten years) since I read this book, but still the immortal understatement that “Hitler was rather naughty” stands out in the memory. I understand it was made into a film starring Maggie Smith who I love, so I need to watch that.

One Day– David Nicholls

You probably need no introduction to the hit novel One Day which follows friends and sometimes star-crossed lovers Emma and Dexter from their graduation in Edinburgh on St Swithin’s Day 1988, and returns to their lives on the same day for the next 20 years before returning to Edinburgh in 1988. Another tear jerker, I’ve met quite a few men who’ve said it made them cry like babies.

The Inspector Rebus Series- Ian Rankin

Again, this series needs very little introduction, but if you’re looking for a starting point into what has been called “Tartan Noir”, then look no further than Knots and Crosses which sees the eponymous Rebus struggling to solve the abduction and strangling of young girls, while receiving strange missives which suggest the murderer maybe someone closer to him than he realises…


I’m planning to drag my boyfriend North of the Wall for a visit next year, so was really pleased to come across this helpful link for more Edinburgh inspired reading, but I’m sure there’s more out there. What books with an Edinburgh connection would you recommend? I’m keen to expand my reading list!

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