Iain Kelly (2022) The Barra Boy.

The Barra Boy is a whodunnit split into three parts. Beginning (Part One: Ewan Fraser). Middle, (Part Two: The Barra Boy of the title). End (Part Three: Laura Robertson).  What happened in Barra is split into two time frames. Ewan Fraser, a successful London solicitor, thinks he saw Billy Matheson on the other side of the window on the crowded Tube station in 2022. But Ewan is in his fifties. Yet Billy seemed to be the same eleven or twelve-year-old boy he’d known on Barra.

In returning to Barra, Ewan returns to his childhood in 1982. A thirteen-year-old boy sent to live in Barra, because his mum in Glasgow is dying. Maggie Thatcher is Prime Minister. Argentina has invaded the Falklands. Scotland have qualified and are playing in the World Cup. And Argentina lose the first game of the tournament to Belgium. More importantly for Ewen, he meets an islander, Laura Robertson, a girl a year older than him, and he’s smitten. First love.

The back-cover blurb reads:

‘But a dark secret that connects Laura to the mysterious outcast Mhairi Matheson and her son, Billy, is hidden beneath the tranquil surface…’

Yawn. I hope clichéd language such as that doesn’t put you off. The book creates worlds and is much better than the advertisement suggests. Read on.