The Ladybird Book of Gore – By Duncan Harley

Had a wee gander past the Harlaw Monument today. Isolated and on a decidedly unlisted road just to the North of Inverurie it’s a largely neglected local asset.
Blue-badged tour guides might on occasion drive their foreign charges past the penile monolith but I doubt it. The passing places are pretty much non-existent and a tourist bus would probably clip both edges of the road. And, god forbid, oncoming traffic would be disastrous. I only met the one car today and at best guess it was driven by a local mum intent on picking the young-ones up from school.

So why the road-trip. Well, my next book has a chapter titled Bloody Battles although I may yet tone it up to ‘Gore, Bloodletting and the Making of the Shire’ – it really depends on the publishers. The Ladybird Book of Gore might not appeal to chuckle brother audiences but The Ladybird Book of Famous Battles might be a starting point. I digress as always.

It was Mike @ The Inverurie Whisky Shop who put me up to it. He suggested that the odd wee teaser-text might set folk on track to buy my books. ‘Blog a part of a story’ he said ‘and suggest that folk buy the book to find out more.’ And I think he is right.
To test the waters, here is an extract from my next book of North-east tales:

“In 1911 Professor Davidson of Aberdeen University, a descendant of the fallen Provost Davidson, suggested that the Aberdeen City Council should commemorate the 500th anniversary of the battle. A sub-committee of the city Finance Committee visited the battlefield for a recce and agreed to release funding. As a result, the tall granite memorial we see today was commissioned.
Constructed of Corennie granite at a cost of £350 and standing some 45ft high, the monument was designed by Aberdeen architect William Kelly of Kelly’s Cats fame and is sited near the spot where Provost Davidson is said to have fallen. Puzzlingly the monument for many years remained incomplete. About 16ft from the ground Kelly had made provision for the placement of several armorial plaques bearing the coat of arms of the principal combatants on both sides. But, of course, the armorial shields were, until quite recently, missing from the memorial. A letter penned by Charles Burnett holds a clue to the mystery …”

To read the complete story you will have to hang-fire for a few months until The Little History of Aberdeenshire is published. But, I assure you and swear on my mother’s grave that it will be worth the wait.

The new tome is off to the editor in a few days and it should be out in bookshelves near you later in the year. Meantime, there are a few episodes of death by sword in my previous book:  The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire.

There are a very few signed copies of the first edition still available from Inverurie Whisky Shop and more – unsigned of course – are available via The History Press and on Amazon.


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