In Ian Rankin’s A Good Hanging (1992) we read about a sleazy character called McKenzie, who was caught loitering around:
“Murrayfield Comprehensive. He wasn’t charged, but it’s on record that he was taken to Murrayfield Police Station and questioned.”
The eagle-eyed will spot three things amiss here:
- Scotland doesn’t have comprehensive schools (as far as I know).
- There is no secondary school in Murrayfield.
- There isn’t a police station either.
Now, I’m presuming that Rankin didn’t want the character or the setting to be associated with any real location, which is something he does in many of his novels. But let’s assume for a moment there actually was a Murrayfield Comprehensive… where would it be?
- Tynecastle High School (pictured) is not far from Roseburn, and is the best candidate. It would have been in the old building back in 1992, across the road.
- Two girls’ schools – Mary Erskine’s and St George’s. Probably not, since they’re private.
- Royal High School – too far away. More like Davidson’s Mains.
As for the local cop shop – there doesn’t seem to be one for miles!
I’ve never been a great fan of Maeve Binchy, to be honest, but I suspect her books were never directed at someone like me. She does seem to have a big fan base though, so who am I to judge?
Her book, A Few of the Girls also mentions Murrayfield, this time as a byname for rugby:
“Murrayfield was a great outing, Michael said. They always loved the year when Ireland played in Cardiff Arms Park and Murrayfield. Two great weekends – win, lose or draw.”
Binchy died back in 2012, and the book is dated 2015, so I’ve no idea whether this is a posthumous book, or a newer edition.
When it comes to Murrayfield Stadium – and indeed Tynecastle nearby – there are so many non-fiction books that mention them, that I have lost count. So, I have tended to concentrate on creative writing instead.
Andy Jackson’s poem about Murrayfield is featured in Umbrellas of Edinburgh (2016), which I discussed earlier this year.
Tynecastle High School. Original uploader was Warburton1368 at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.