Archives and fiction: The Lewis Man

All been a bit quiet beyond the Friday photo’s so thought I’d do something a bit different.

The Lewis Man

Peter May is a Lewis-born author who has set three thrillers on the island.  The first, The Black House, is based in the Ness area of Lewis and includes a dramatic trip to the island of Sulesgeir as part of the annual Guga Hunt.  His second book, The Lewis Man, features many of the same characters.  Following the discovery of a bog body in a peat bog near Shader, a detective story unfolds that features archives and records heavily.

With out giving the plot away too much, guest appearances are made by the Registrar in Tarbert, Harris  who holds the statutory birth, death and marriage records; the head teacher at Seilebost School who delves into the school’s archives (without breaching Data Protection!) and even Bill Lawson (appearing as himself) at Seallam where his genealogical knowledge is tested.  Mainland archives get a look in with school records in Edinburgh being referenced as well as the ScotlandsPeople Centre at the National Records of Scotland.

The importance of oral history is shown on another Outer Hebridean island which I can’t name without giving the plot away.

The third book in the trilogy is out in January but the first two are well worth reading as they capture elements of the Gaelic culture, language and the islands’ dramatic scenery.  Importantly, they show just how important archives are when it comes to identity, belonging, and solving crime!

Peter May’s books are available through Western Isles library service.  We’d be interested to hear about any other fiction that feature archives in the Hebrides!

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.