For the next five days my novel The Flesh Market is on sale to Kindle readers in the US and UK for 99p / 99c.
To mark the previous week long sales for my other novels I’ve taken you on a set of brief tours around the places I was living when I wrote them. Novels take ages to write, and they often happen in stages at different locations. The Flesh Market wasn’t like that at all.
The idea struck me half way through a shift of dayjobbery in India. I was living in an apartment on the top two floors of this building at the time.
I started to write it, then stopped after a few chapters. There were elements to this book that I didn’t want to examine too closely, because they reflected back on me in ways I wasn’t ready to examine. It took me a couple of years to get myself in shape (mentally) to finish the thing. When I did, I was living at…
Shortest. Tour. Ever.
Okay, sure, you clicked through. You made that effort. As they’re handy, here are a couple of locations from the novel itself.
The story, of course, is about Burke & Hare, two Irish immigrants living in Edinburgh in the early years of the Nineteenth Century. They stayed together for a time, along with their wives, in a lodging house owned by the Hares. Tanner’s Close, the secluded lane where it was located, doesn’t exist anymore, but I guessed from my reading that it would have been somewhere near here.
The photo was taken during a research trip in 2013, on the edge of the West Port district, not too far uphill from the Grassmarket. Burke and Hare would not have been able to see Edinburgh Castle in the background as you can here, I don’t think. Their multiple murders are often named for the district – the West Port murders – which at that time was crammed full of immigrant workers from Ireland, and which proved fertile hunting ground for the pair.
And here’s a picture of Fleshmarket Close. Back in Burke & Hare’s day the flat sections between the steep steps would have been bustling with various butcher stalls (hence the name). I went out of my way to ensure that this Close turned up in the novel (Burke and Hare scrap their way from the top to the bottom at one point). As I was stealing its name for the book, it seemed rude not to have it appear somewhere.
And until Friday you can visit these places and more for 99p/99c. For all the mayhem of the story’s events, my Edinburgh is still probably saner than the real thing at this time of year (Festival fever snarls Edinburgh up for much of the summer). I hope you enjoy it.