I’ve always been fascinated by the dark side of human nature – I was a voracious early reader who preferred Sherlock Holmes to the Famous Five – so I suppose it was inevitable I’d turn to crime (so to speak). But I’d always associated those kinds of murderous goings-on with gas-lit Victorian parlours or country house drawing rooms. Even when I grew up and graduated to amazing Scottish crime writers like William McIlvanney and later, Val McDermid, I could never picture the quiet Highland town I’d gone to school in as a backdrop for the kind of stories I loved to read, and was starting to think I might like to write one day. Inverness was a peaceful backwater, a shy sort of a place that never seemed quite comfortable with its more bloodthirsty past. Not a place, you might think, where darkness could flourish. Not then.
But there’s nothing like a little time away from your hometown to make you see it with fresh eyes, and the town I left in the eighties seems like another world now. For one thing, it’s not a town any more – city status was conferred on Inverness for the millennium, and in the years since then it’s grown steadily into the modern, confident place I call home today. A bright, outward-looking place, with an increasingly cosmopolitan population. A confident place, developing its own cultural identity in a confident modern Scotland.
Only bright doesn’t work without the dark. And I think a certain sort of past will always throw up shadows, don’t you?
I’m Margaret Morton Kirk, and this is my city.
I hope you enjoy your stay.