Posting the statue of Greyfriars Bobby is a bit of a cheat, but I know how many of you like to see the picture of an attractive hound. He sits at the top of Candlemaker Row where some of the action with Charles Lindsay’s nemesis, Graham Direlton, takes place in my new novel, Bella’s Betrothal.
Walking briskly on and not detouring into the wonderful grounds of Greyfriars Church, brings you to Charles Street.
When I was a student in the early 70s, Charles Street was a mock Tudor extravaganza with the truly wonderful Parker’s Stores on the corner. Wonderful because, if memory serves, it was an emporium of the kind I loved to rake in. I do remember buying the dress of my dreams, clinging angora in French Blue, there one Christmas time. It wasn’t long before the whole complex of little streets and lanes was demolished and the University Refectory and Health Centre erected in their place.
None of that appears in the book, but I do use Charles Street for a little verbal sparring.
It’s when we get to the square itself, however, that I feel setting achieves the status of character. I loved George Square although I never viewed it complete because the University Library already existed before I became a student. I liked the Library building and still do, but the south side of the square was demolished to provide the site. Nonetheless, the wanderer can hear the rumble of horse-drawn vehicles and feel the breeze as a thousand ghostly skirts brush past.
Could Bella have walked on these cobbles between No 20 and the gates into the gardens? It’s the sort of question places raise in my writer’s mind. No doubt someone out there knows who lived in No 20 in 1826, there are Street Directories, but Bella’s Betrothal is a fiction, so bear with me.
BELLA’S BETROTHAL will be published on Friday 20th September by MuseItUp. Details here: