September 19th, 2011
Readers have often asked me why Cyrus Barker is a Scotsman. As I stood this year at the Tulsa Scottish Games, I reflected on the thought that my earliest memories were of being at just such a Scottish festival. I grew up in an enclave of Scottish relatives in Bucks County, PA, and from an early age was introduced to Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and George MacDonald. It seemed natural to make my protagonist a Scot. Detective work was one of those professions that brought eager Scotsmen south of the border, to the aptly, if unofficially, named Scotland Yard, or to Craig’s Court next door, which was well known as the home of most of London’s private detectives. Detective work required little education but a certain Scottish canniness, at least until Conan Doyle came along and made murder quintessentially English with the advent of Sherlock Holmes. But then, Conan Doyle was a Scot himself. How canny is that?
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