Alumni Services

April 2015

There are plenty crimes and mysteries to be solved on this month’s bookshelf. There’s also an illustrated account of the joys of being a new parent and the edited diaries of a wartime motorcycle despatch rider.


Author David Venner 
Degree Resource Management BSc (1972)

Despatch Rider on the Western Front, 1915-18: The diary of Albert Simpkin, MM (Edited by David Venner)

Albert Simpkin was born near Salford and worked as an engineer in Manchester before the outbreak of war. He enlisted as a motorcycle despatch rider and kept a detailed diary of his war service. His wide-ranging role enabled him to witness much more than men who were restricted to the trenches. One day he would be dodging shell holes and ammunition limbers to take his despatches to the front, the next commenting on the quaint but often courageous lives of the local populace.


The diary has been skilfully abridged by Albert Simpkin’s great nephew. It contains first-hand accounts of the major battles, colourful and amusing anecdotes about his fellow soldiers, and critical comments on the strategies and tactics employed by the officers. Fortunately, Albert was a gifted observer and a fluent writer. The book offers a unique opportunity for readers to immerse themselves in a well-written and objective account of life and death on the Western Front.

Despatch Rider on the Western Front, 1915-18: The diary of Albert Simpkin, MM


Author Ian Simpson 
Degree Law LLB (1970)
Book Murder in Court Three

Farquhar Knox QC heard a creak to his right and swung round, prepared to bully an intruder into going away. But the blustering tirade died on his lips as the sharp point of an arrow pierced his dinner shirt, entered his torso below the ribs and was pushed up until it penetrated his heart. A few gurgles were the last sounds Farquhar Knox made. His own day of judgement had arrived. When a leading QC is found dead after a function at the law courts in Edinburgh, rumour has it that he had been having an affair with the wife of a senior police officer. Detective Inspector Flick Fortune and Detective Sergeant Bagawath Chandavarkar (Baggo) encounter hazy memories, awkward lawyers and a fervent religious group. Their efforts are derided in the press by ex-Inspector No. In the background, a multi-million pound fraud trial reaches its conclusion as unorthodox methods are needed to reach the truth... Ian Simpson is inspired by a number of authors, including PG Wodehouse, John Mortimer and William Boyd. His writing style is comparable to Christopher Brookmyre.

Murder in Court Three


Author John Mayer
Degree Commerce BComm (1987), Law DipLp (1988)
Book The Trial

An urban legal/crime novel set in the beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh, part one of The Parliament House book series.  

When Glaswegian Brogan McLane completes many years of university education and legal training he crosses that great divide from Glasgow to Edinburgh. 'Called' to the Bar of the Scottish Supreme Court, he becomes a member of the most prestigious club in Scotland; The Faculty of Advocates in Parliament House.

When High Court Judge, Lord Aldounhill, is found dead after a transvestite party in his sumptuous home, those who know the killer close ranks and need a scapegoat – who better than 'outsider' Brogan McLane?

Out on bail with his career on hold, McLane and his band of blood brothers in the Calton Bar in Glasgow need to get ahead of their enemies or McLane will go down for life after Trial. But every time they discover a piece of evidence, it seems there is a mirror image to contradict it.

Through the murky world of Russian controlled transvestite hotels and with some unexpected police and judicial help, McLane battles against 'Low Life in High Places in the Old Town' until the killer is found.

But well protected and knowing all the tricks, will the killer ever stand trial in Parliament House?

The Trial


Author Aislinn Hunter
Degree Writing and Cultural Politics MSc (2007)
Book The World Before Us

The brilliant, hauntingly beautiful second novel, twelve years in the making, from a writer whose previous novel Stay was a Globe and Mail Top 100 pick, a finalist for the Amazon First Novel Award, and made into a feature film.

When she was just fifteen, smart, sensitive Jane Standen lived through a nightmare: she lost the sweet five-year-old girl she was minding during a walk in the woods. The little girl was never found, leaving her family, and Jane, devastated. Now the grown-up Jane is an archivist at a small London museum that is about to close for lack of funding. As her one last project, she is searching the archives for scraps of information related to another missing person--a woman who disappeared some 125 years ago from a Victorian asylum. As the novel moves back and forth between the museum in contemporary London, the Victorian asylum, and a dilapidated country house that seems to connect both missing people, it unforgettably explores the repercussions of small acts, the power of affection, and the irrepressible vitality of everyday objects and events.

Here is a rivetting, gorgeously written novel that powerfully reminds us of the possibility that we are less alone than we might think.

The World Before Us


Author Lucy Scott 
Degree Painting BA (1995), Painting MFA (1997)
Book Doodle Diary of a New Mum

In 2012, Lucy Scott gave birth to her first baby. Despite her extensive pre-baby research, nothing prepared her for the momentous task of caring for this new little person. Featuring dozens of funny moments like baby's first lunch out to a forensic view of the living room, this charming doodle collection includes 120 two-colour illustrations and is the perfect gift for Mother's Day, baby showers, or year round fun.

Also included are a few doodling prompts in the back of the book so mums can doodle their own first year memories. 

Doodle Diary of a New Mum

Please note

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