David Hutchison was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. He worked for many years as a fisherman, crofter, DJ and self-taught artist.
His children’s book Storm Hags was shortlisted for the Kelpie Prize. He’s had several short stories published in anthologies (New Writing Scotland, Read By Dawn) and on BBC radio. He is also a filmmaker. He wrote and directed the sci-fi feature Graders, and comedy/meta-horror Baobhan Sith.
He has just completed The Book of Skulls, a BAME and LBQT story of hidden identity and murder, inspired by Edinburgh’s murky medical history.
Last year he put on the exhibition Medical Inspirations, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Edinburgh Seven; the first group of women to matriculate at a British university.
He is currently working on Kore, a supernatural novel where a bank clerk is contacted through her new hearing aid by her dead girlfriend. He also teaches a class in scriptwriting and is hoping to do some online class in the autumn.
A Victorian tale of gender-bending, hidden identity, obsession and gruesome murder, set in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
1875. Liz Moliette; a poor orphan of unknown heritage, and Amulya Patel; from a wealthy Indian family, are the only female students at the Edinburgh Medical School, where a hostile attitude towards women is driven by Professor Atticus. However, Liz and Amulya have allies in fellow student Campbell Preeble, The Reekie reporter Hector Findlay and the charming Dr Paul Love.
In dire need of funds, Liz becomes assistant to gruff lecturer and police surgeon Dr Florian Blyth. When a series of grisly murders take place the doctor and Liz help Inspector Macleod in his investigation, which leads to the Edinburgh Asylum, the Burry Man festival and the quack science of phrenology.
The search for the killer comes dangerously close to Liz as she uncovers her own family secrets.
Exclusive Excerpt from The Book of Skulls
Port of Leith, Edinburgh, 1875.
The seaman’s mission was a rather dilapidated building, situated next to Leith Docks. In the temporary examination room at the back, stood stocky French sailor Henri Blanc, trousers at his
knees. He rubbed a shiny bump on his shaved head: a nervous habit.
The youthful Dr Paul Love completed his examination and shrugged. “You can pull your breeks up!” The doctor washed his hands in a porcelain basin.
The doctor dried his hands on a towel and gave Henri his best reassuring smile. “All clear.”
“Eh bien. I thought the scab… I was with a putain in London,” said Henri.
The doctor shook his head and said, “Sometimes a scab is just a scab.”
“Hold on!” The doctor opened up his medical bag and took out a small bottle of greenish liquid. “Here.”
Henri read the label. “Rose’s lime juice. Do I rub it in?”
The doctor laughed. “God no! Just drink it. Vitamin C. It will help your skin.”
Henri smiled and nodded. He took out his small leather fisherman’s purse.
The doctor shook his head. “No it’s fine. The company sends me free samples.”
Henri grinned. “Merci beaucoup.”
A few minutes later Henri left the mission, and with a happy gait crossed over the Victoria Bridge. He stopped to watch a swan as it rippled through the reflection of the setting sun, bathing Leith Docks in a bloody glow. La vie est belle! He turned down the quayside and headed for The Sandport Bar.
The bar was chockablock with early evening customers, chattering and laughing over the musical scratchings of a pair of old bodachs, fiddling in a corner. Henri shoved his way up to the bar counter and ordered a drink.
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