Have you been at a loss for what book to crack open next and searching for recommendations? Look no further! Edinburgh Napier Library staff have been turning those pages during lockdown and have shared some of their stellar finds.


‘Magic for Liars’ by Sarah Gailey

Private Investigator murder mystery meets grown up Harry Potter…well kinda.

There’s a gory murder, a down and out private detective who has lost her way and a grown up take on a Magic School.

If you are looking for a fun, light read with a little magic thrown in I’d recommend this.

Here’s how Amazon touts it:

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.
Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.
She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.
Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.


The first book I’ve read this year is ‘Unnatural Causes’ by Dr Richard Shepherd.

It’s a personal account of a British pathologist’s (sometimes high profile) cases during his career and wasn’t gory or gratuitous but darkly fascinating. It was my bedtime reading on my kindle and I DID NOT have any nightmares! 🙂



‘A Way of Being Free’ by Ben Okri

I loved this very thin book containing rich essays about the topic of freedom (in all its shapes and forms). Very meaningful while we are in the middle of the current lockdown situation…




I’ve just read ‘Shuggie Bain’ by Douglas Stuart, the 2020 Booker prize winner. It’s about a young boy growing up in Glasgow, his relationship with his mother and her fight with alcoholism. It’s a tough and moving story, beautifully written. 

I’m also reading ‘The Librarian’ by Sally Vickers – it’s about a young woman who moves to a small English village in the 1950s to take up the post of Children’s librarian – I haven’t finished it yet but have a feeling it’s about to get scandalous 😉




‘Story: substance, structure, style and the principles of screenwriting’ by Robert McKee

This is no mere how-to guide to writing. This is a dissection of the craft from the inside out and just as pertinent to would-be novelists, playwrights, and short story writers as screenwriters.  McKee explains not only how to write, but why.  Why have human beings told each other stories in every culture, time, place and language? Story explains why we have a fundamental need to connect through fiction.


‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri 

Chrity Lefteri based it on her experiences working in a refugee camp in Athens.  It tells the journey taken by Nuri and his wife Afra from Aleppo to Europe and the difficulties they encountered along the way and the effect it had on them.  It really opened my eyes to the terrible journeys that refugees undertake against all odds to get to safety.

‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig 

This tells the story of Tom Hazard who is 400 years old, he has a condition which means for every 13- 14 years he ages 1 year.  I liked it because it detailed his life in different periods of history,  he included things that did actually happen which made it interesting historically.   It reminded me of the film Highlander!  It is often compared with The Time Traveller’s Wife which I read but didn’t like!

‘The Art Of Dying’ by Ambrose Parry

Historical crime story set in Victorian Edinburgh based around  Dr James Simpson who was a pioneer of medical chloroform. It is written by Christopher Brookmyre and his wife Marisa Haetzman under the name Ambrose Parry.  I liked it as it was set in Edinburgh and the information within it was historically accurate and gave an insight in to the difficulties faced my medical pioneers of the time.


Happy Reading!