Quintin Jardine is one of Edinburgh’s most prolific crime writers. I’ve lost count of all the books he’s done, since like his co-genreists*, he manages to produce several each year. I have posted about Quintin Jardine before on this blog (click here) and talked about my sighting of him in the Gyle Centre…
Anyway, it would seem that he likes the Roseburn Bar, which appears in at least two of his books, and is something of a local landmark.
First, we read of the Roseburn Bar in connexion with Scottish-Irish-Italians in Stay of Execution (2004, Bob Skinner series, book 14):
‘”At which point,’ said a voice behind them, ‘you all breathe hearty sighs of relief and head for the Roseburn Bar.’ They turned to see Mario McGuire…”
And there is another reference in Poisoned Cherries (2002, Oz Blackstone series, book 6). If the council gets its way and turns Roseburn into a cycleway, then taking this route will actually be impossible:
“‘Who, me or him? Anyway, I’m telling you now. Anna Chin works for Torrent, okay. Where does that take us?’
“‘Nowhere of itself,’ said Ricky, as he took a right at the lights, past the Roseburn Bar, but it’s a connection. It has a pattern of a sort…”
So does the Murrayfield Bar get a look in too? Or the Murrayfield Hotel? I’d like to point out at this point I have no professional connection to the Roseburn Bar. It does have some great sporting pictures on the wall, and some fine traditional fittings though…
I’m told that across the road, in Tesco, that there is a book swop. So if you happen to pop by the Roseburn Bar on account of my literary research, you’ll be able to pick up some reading material there.
Ravelston Dykes also turns up in Jardine’s work.
Personally speaking, the Dykes is one of my favourite streets in Edinburgh – not for the housing on either side, but the magnificent avenue of trees which puts on a grand show every autumn (don’t worry the council is getting rid of it gradually).
Although it is a bit of a rat run, it is not a road which leads anywhere directly, but sits neatly between two major routes. Skinner’s Mission (1996, Bob Skinner series, book 6):
Martin peered through the night glasses, looking eastwards along Ravelston Dykes Road, then down the hill where it swept up from Queensferry Road, the northwestern approach to the capital.
Ravelston Dykes is hemmed in by private schools on three sides – Stewarts Melville to the east, Mary Erskines to the north and St George’s to the south. It is well heeled to say the least, and there is no prospect of the likes of me living there in the near future. As Blackstone’s Pursuits (1996, Oz Blackstone series, book 1) reminds us:
We found the address with no difficulty at all. In the back of the car, we still had a copy of the Evening News which carried the report of his identification, complete with a photo of Chez Kane. Even for a stockbroker, it looked quite a place. It was a big villa along Ravelston Dykes, one of those streets in Edinburgh where the poor folk aren’t encouraged to get out of their cars.
Irvine Welsh’s Filth has a less flattering reference to Ravvie Dykes. It is fairly clear that Filth, and its sequel Crime (2008), are send ups of the likes of Jardine, Rankin etc, with a more cynical eye on our police. Both Jardine and Welsh’s view of policing is somewhat archaic – since the merger into Police Scotland, Edinburgh’s police seem to prefer using helicopters to ground forces. I seem to be making a few more political points than usual, but that’s probably due to being inundated by leaflets over the last six months.
There are some other, older literary connections to the Ravelston area, but you’ll have to read the book of Literary Corstorphine to find out.
* Is “co-genreist” an actual word? Probably in the USA no doubt!!!
- The Roseburn Bar cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Thomas Nugent – geograph.org.uk/p/3712395
- Quintin Jardine in L’Escala, 2006 cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Quintin Jardine – “File:Quintin Jardine in L’Escala 2006.jpg” on Wikipedia