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Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right... Starting work on her new project - photographing murder houses - she returns to the island where she grew up fo Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right... Starting work on her new project - photographing murder houses - she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the draughty house that overlooked the bay, the feeling of being nowhere, the memory of her childhood friend Shirley Craigie and the devastating familicide of her family by the father, John Craigie. Arriving at the Craigie house, Cath finds that it's occupied by financial analyst Alice Rahman. Her bid to escape the city lifestyle, the anxiety she felt in that world, led her to leave London and settle on the island. The strangeness of the situation brings them closer, leading them to reinvestigate the Craigie murder. Now, within the walls of the Craigie house, Cath can uncover the nefarious truths and curious nature of John Craigie: his hidden obsession with the work of Richard Dadd and the local myths of the fairy folk. The Good Neighbours is an enquiry into the unknowability of the past and our attempts to make events fit our need to interpret them; the fallibility of recollection; the power of myths in shaping human narratives. Nina Allan skilfully weaves the imagined and the real to create a magically haunting story of memory, obsession and the liminal spaces that our minds frequent to escape trauma.


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Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right... Starting work on her new project - photographing murder houses - she returns to the island where she grew up fo Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right... Starting work on her new project - photographing murder houses - she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the draughty house that overlooked the bay, the feeling of being nowhere, the memory of her childhood friend Shirley Craigie and the devastating familicide of her family by the father, John Craigie. Arriving at the Craigie house, Cath finds that it's occupied by financial analyst Alice Rahman. Her bid to escape the city lifestyle, the anxiety she felt in that world, led her to leave London and settle on the island. The strangeness of the situation brings them closer, leading them to reinvestigate the Craigie murder. Now, within the walls of the Craigie house, Cath can uncover the nefarious truths and curious nature of John Craigie: his hidden obsession with the work of Richard Dadd and the local myths of the fairy folk. The Good Neighbours is an enquiry into the unknowability of the past and our attempts to make events fit our need to interpret them; the fallibility of recollection; the power of myths in shaping human narratives. Nina Allan skilfully weaves the imagined and the real to create a magically haunting story of memory, obsession and the liminal spaces that our minds frequent to escape trauma.

57 review for The Good Neighbours

  1. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    Every time I read anything by Nina Allan, I marvel at how wonderful it is to have found my author. I don’t mean a favourite author, I mean someone whose every piece of fiction – in terms of tone, style, content and themes, broadly, but also the smallest of details, the exact ways things are described, how her characters think about the world – could have been written with me, just me, in mind. Of course, this also means that, at this point, it’s absolutely impossible for me to review a Nina Alla Every time I read anything by Nina Allan, I marvel at how wonderful it is to have found my author. I don’t mean a favourite author, I mean someone whose every piece of fiction – in terms of tone, style, content and themes, broadly, but also the smallest of details, the exact ways things are described, how her characters think about the world – could have been written with me, just me, in mind. Of course, this also means that, at this point, it’s absolutely impossible for me to review a Nina Allan novel objectively. I would absolutely recommend The Good Neighbours, I think it’s a fantastic book, I think you’ll love it – but be aware that you may not love it as much as me, a person for whom Allan’s work may as well have been specifically designed by a committee of algorithms, gods and benign ghosts. The Good Neighbours centres on Cath, who works in a record shop while pursuing her real passion, photography, on the side. When she was a teenager, her family spent a few years living on the Isle of Bute, and during that time something happened that marked her for life: the murder of her best friend Shirley by Shirley’s father, John Craigie. He also killed his wife and and Shirley’s brother Sonny, shortly before dying himself in a car crash – an act commonly believed to be suicide. When Cath returns to the island, she strikes up an uneasily intimate friendship with the woman who now lives in the Craigies’ former home. She also becomes increasingly certain he was not, in fact, the killer, and while trying to investigate the case she uncovers an incongruous fact: John Craigie believed in fairies. Despite that, it’s arguably the least genre-inflected of Allan’s major works to date, making it a good gateway for those leery of the type of speculative literary fiction that leans heavily towards the speculative (a category that would include Allan’s first two novels). There’s a deliberate ambiguity in what Cath discovers, and what Allan shows us, about John Craigie’s beliefs. There are lots of references to the Victorian artist John Dadd, famous for his intricate paintings of fairies; his painting ‘The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke’ forms part of the gorgeous cover design. Dadd is also infamous for having murdered his father, whom he believed to be the devil. The paralells with Dadd tell us something about The Good Neighbours; it is, more than it might first appear, a story about the fragile and capricious nature of the human mind. Meanwhile, parallels to John’s hold over his family emerge throughout the narrative – in Alice’s seemingly precarious relationship with her husband Saheed, and in the case of Mary Chant, whom Cath finds out about while photographing a different ‘murder house’. She is another murder victim and, like Shirley’s mother, another woman assumed to have been killed by her partner. When the truth is revealed, it’s both unexpected and depressingly predictable: a ‘twist’ that highlights the dangers of making assumptions, without undermining the facts of comparable real-life cases. When Cath thinks about Shirley, her lost friend comes to life; the character reads as a celebration of a vibrant young person rather than a morose portrait of a life cut short. The few chapters in which another character’s perspective intrude are startling. Written loosely, colloquially, in part-dialect, they’re so good they’re thrilling, the kind of writing that makes the imagination run away with itself. And they illuminate this character in exactly the right way, without losing their essential enigma, that sense of an unsolvable conundrum that is the heart of this story. I read The Good Neighbours very quickly, gulping it down as though I’d been deprived of good fiction for months (which isn’t true at all, I’ve read plenty of great books this year so far, but I have been starved of new work from Allan). I’ve been cursing the miserable weather lately, yet I was glad of a gloomy day on which to curl up with this book. I do want, and need, to read it again, though, to properly get under the skin of the story and discover the nuances I may have missed. I received an advance review copy of The Good Neighbours from the publisher through NetGalley. TinyLetter | Linktree

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    The Good Neighbours is a masterful work of speculative literary fiction about a mysterious murder on a Scottish island and the nefarious influence of the fairy people known as 'the good neighbours’. The facts of the case were straightforward, or at least they appeared to be. Cath works in a record shop in Glasgow and has an unorthodox hobby: in her spare time she photographs ‘murder houses’. The root of her fascination with buildings in which sinister deaths have occurred can be traced back to h The Good Neighbours is a masterful work of speculative literary fiction about a mysterious murder on a Scottish island and the nefarious influence of the fairy people known as 'the good neighbours’. The facts of the case were straightforward, or at least they appeared to be. Cath works in a record shop in Glasgow and has an unorthodox hobby: in her spare time she photographs ‘murder houses’. The root of her fascination with buildings in which sinister deaths have occurred can be traced back to her teenage years on a Scottish island, when her best friend Shirley Craigie was murdered in August 2001, along with her mother and her three-year-old brother, in their family home. They died from gunshot wounds, and the fact that Shirley was found in the garden, with scratches on her limbs, suggested she had tried desperately to escape. The obvious suspect, at the time, was Shirley’s father – a belligerent, strange and controlling man who was found dead in his pickup truck having crashed into a stone wall on the A844 on the island’s west coast. It was this discovery that led the police to the other bodies. It seemed to be an open and shut case: John Eamon Craigie, a violent eccentric who believed in kelpies, redcaps, fairies and elves, murdered his wife and children in cold blood; but Cath never quite bought this version of events and wonders, too, if the distraction caused by the events of 9/11 meant the police failed to look elsewhere. Over ten years later, seeking closure and still reeling from the end of an affair with a married photography tutor, Cath takes a three-month break from work and returns to the island. She takes her camera and rents an apartment on the island. She goes to Shirley’s house, intending to photograph it and befriends its current resident – a woman named Alice, who guesses that Cath’s interest in the place is linked to the murders. Alice doesn’t believe in ghosts and isn’t bothered by the history of the house, but she is troubled in other ways. Cath begins to re-investigate alternatives to the accepted story of the Craigie deaths and starts to seriously doubt that John Eamon Craigie was a murderer. But if he didn’t kill his family, who did? This is a compulsive and captivating crime novel and as with of Allan’s books she manages to do a little genre-bending as this is a mystery-thriller but still featuring her trademark speculative/fantasy elements such as fairie mythology and of course with all of the philosophical wisdom and asides and attention to detail throughout you get much more substance than included in your bog-standard crime thriller. The mystery at its heart is superbly plotted, emotionally resonant and intriguing so much so that I was torn between racing through it and savouring the Nina Allan experience. A beguiling, richly atmospheric read with a stunning sense of time and place and a genuine mystical element to it. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Faichney

    "The Good Neighbours" is a sort of book of two halves. It starts out as a study of teenage friendship and island life. I loved the setting on the Isle of Bute. Cath is a quirky character, trying to find her place in the world. Weaved into the fabric of the novel are some interesting references to art, literature and mathematical theory. In particular, Nina Allan focuses on the work of Richard Dadd. I enjoyed the folklore and traditional music. The occasional Scots language sometimes didn't feel "The Good Neighbours" is a sort of book of two halves. It starts out as a study of teenage friendship and island life. I loved the setting on the Isle of Bute. Cath is a quirky character, trying to find her place in the world. Weaved into the fabric of the novel are some interesting references to art, literature and mathematical theory. In particular, Nina Allan focuses on the work of Richard Dadd. I enjoyed the folklore and traditional music. The occasional Scots language sometimes didn't feel authentic to me and I found some parts jarring. I particularly liked the inclusion of an older woman in Iris and enjoyed her assertion that she never found a man that was worth the trouble! Overall, an enjoyable and intriguing read. 

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 rounded down I enjoyed Allan's latest novel, which is quite aptly described in the blurb a 'domestic noir' - but with (this part being my own description) added fairies! Cath, a photographer living in Glasgow returns to the Isle of Bute as part of her new project photographing so-called 'murder houses'. The one that obsesses her most is that of her childhood friend, Shirley, who was murdered with her mother and younger brother in her teens. Cath left the island soon after and hasn't returned s 3.5 rounded down I enjoyed Allan's latest novel, which is quite aptly described in the blurb a 'domestic noir' - but with (this part being my own description) added fairies! Cath, a photographer living in Glasgow returns to the Isle of Bute as part of her new project photographing so-called 'murder houses'. The one that obsesses her most is that of her childhood friend, Shirley, who was murdered with her mother and younger brother in her teens. Cath left the island soon after and hasn't returned since. She befriends Alice, the new owner of the property, and begins trying to get to the bottom of what really happened to Shirley and her family, and whether Shirley's dad (the longtime suspect) was actually the perpetrator. My rating is rounded down because I wanted something *more* from the novel - the resolution of Cath and Alice's relationship felt hurried and like something was missing, and given the focus that was put on this earlier in the novel this left me a tiny bit dissatisfied. I should also stress that the fairy content is minimal and mostly confined to one section in the middle of the novel (in case that isn't your thing!). I'd be keen to check out more of Allan's writing in the future. Thank you Netgalley and Quercus Books for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Harris

    I'm really grateful to Ana McLaughlin at Riverrun for an advance copy of The Good Neighbours to consider for review. Nina Allan's books are among my favourite reads of recent years so I was VERY excited to that The Good Neighbours was coming - and indeed, it's classic Allan, an apparently simply story but which proves to have many depths and currents to it. We first meet Cath, whose story this (mainly) is, getting ready, with her friend Shirley Craigie, for a Saturday trip to the Big Town. Shirle I'm really grateful to Ana McLaughlin at Riverrun for an advance copy of The Good Neighbours to consider for review. Nina Allan's books are among my favourite reads of recent years so I was VERY excited to that The Good Neighbours was coming - and indeed, it's classic Allan, an apparently simply story but which proves to have many depths and currents to it. We first meet Cath, whose story this (mainly) is, getting ready, with her friend Shirley Craigie, for a Saturday trip to the Big Town. Shirley's doing her makeup, Cath, less daring, just her nails. There's a warm teenage friendship between the two young women which comes over strongly in this first scene and to which Allan returns again and again. The detail is goods: as the two leave they hear Shirley's mum Susan singing 'like Lizzie Dreams on Playdays' and this moves on to a memory of her (jealous, overprotective?) dad, John. Cath and Shirley live on an island, not hopelessly remote but a ferry ride away from the mainland, and then a bus trip into town, which as it happens is Glasgow. That gives the day a bit of a frisson - if you miss the ferry, you're stranded - as does the girls' sneaking into a bar for vodka and Shirley's nicking a camisole from a shop. Looming behind that, though, is John's attitude of control and general disapproval. (Cath's parents don't like her spending time at Shirley's house). Fast forward a few years and Cath is working in a Glasgow record shop and trying to establish herself as a photographer. She's in a dead-end affair with a married man, and Shirley is nowhere on the scene. Cath is working on a photograph project to document "murder houses" - places where killings have taken place. We see her examine a house in Glasgow, delving into the case - the victim and her background, and the presumed murderer. Then she decides to return to the island - where the house she's interested in is that one we saw at start of the book, Shirley's, house, where she, her mother, and her little brother were murdered by John Craigie. I loved the way that, in this story, Allan shows us Cath essentially being stuck. What happened back on the island derailed her life, turning her from a straightford path - school high flier, good university, good job - to... something else. The delicacy of the way Allan does this is impossible to explain without oversimplifying. It's not "my childhood friend was murdered and I never came to terms with that" (though that is true). It's more about understanding, knowing, seeing. Part of that is learning what actually happened to Shirley and her family - there is an official account but it doesn't satisfy Cath - but part is also about appreciating her, Caths's, own place in everything. Was what happened, at some level, her fault? Cath decides to find out - not only by viewing the house where everything happened (now owned by Alice, a financial analyst seeking refuge from London) but also by looking into the background (which proves surprisingly shifty). That makes the story sound like a crime novel and if you want to see it that way, it is a fine crime novel. But there is much more to it. Allan's novels often come with hidden wiring - they may allude to nested fictional worlds either overtly (such as through stories-within-stories) or implicitly through themes of craft or artistic accomplishment, skills which create their own worlds or make gateways to others. The Good Neighbours is apparently more straightforward but it still has at its centre a whiff of strangeness. There is a man - Craigie - who cannot read, but seems to have had a rare talent for working in wood ('wood was warmer than stone and wood was kind') and who has encoded his life in some sense in a doll's house (but the dolls themselves are missing). Similarly, Alice has formidable talent for maths - her breakdown is connected with her (mis?)using this in finance. Dovetailing with that are speculations about "many worlds" quantum mechanics and its possible links to fairy, supported by the parallel careers of (real) Victorian painter Richard Dadd and (fictitious) linguist and mathematician Mabel Konig, both of who returned from trips to the Near East with changed perspectives on art, nature and reality. All of this creates a sense of something strange which remains tantalisingly close, yet impossible to grasp. So, again, you could focus on those aspects of the novel and see it as fantasy/ SF. But while that background, and the theme of the "Good Neighbours" themselves, in folklore, in Craigie's early life and in Alice's family stories, are always present here, like a river flowing nearby - stop and listen for a moment and you can hear it running - they are not "all" the story. In reality I think this book is a wonderful dance of all those themes, and more, for example Craigie's violence and controlling behaviour (both their origins and the failure of an apparently close-knit community - in fact, more than one - to confront that). This in turn has echoes I think in Alice's relationship with her partner, something we only see in glimpses. There are some secrets here, which emerge in their own good time, so, yes, in some sense what actually happened is clear by the time the book closes, but the joy of this chewy, intricately textured novel is the journey to that point, rather than any satisfaction at having a mystery solved. It is a book to be read slowly and savoured and indeed, re-read. I would strongly recommend and I think (while it is still early days!) this will be one of my favourites of 2021.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alayne Emmett

    This book was an ok read but really I found it a little disjointed and hard to follow. It’s a shame really as I’d hoped for better which is why I only gave it two stars. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    Thank you to Ana Sampson McLaughlin at Riverrun for sending me a proof copy of 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐍𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 by Nina Allan. - '𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 ... 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬?' '𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲'𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 - 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭, 𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐲. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲'𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞.' - The Good Neighbours is such an original and unusual story. It is a perfect read for murderinos (where my MFM fans at?), in that it has elements of mystery Thank you to Ana Sampson McLaughlin at Riverrun for sending me a proof copy of 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐍𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 by Nina Allan. - '𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 ... 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬?' '𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲'𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 - 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭, 𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐲. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲'𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞.' - The Good Neighbours is such an original and unusual story. It is a perfect read for murderinos (where my MFM fans at?), in that it has elements of mystery, the feel of true crime, and the supernatural. - 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐃𝐚𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐚 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐰 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧'𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐢𝐦. 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐭, 𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫. 𝐌𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲'𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐟 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧. - The main character, Cath, is a great character. She felt very realistic to me, in the sense that she was impacted by quite a severe loss at a young age (the murder of her best friend Shirley's entire family) and this loss impacts how the rest of her life plays out. It's often the case for young people that they somehow become 'stuck' in the trauma, or that it impacts how they develop, making them more risk averse and afraid of being vulnerable. - 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐟 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐝𝐫𝐚𝐰𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐞 ... 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐧𝐨 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐚 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝, 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲, 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐥 𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐰𝐚𝐬 '𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠'. - Cath decides to revisit her childhood home - partly to take photos for the project she is working on, but mostly because she feels a compulsion to try to uncover the truth about what happened, and determine whether the father figure of the family (John Craigie) really did commit the murders. - 𝐀 𝐡𝐨𝐭, 𝐡𝐨𝐭 𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐚 𝐬𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐭 𝐛𝐲 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐤𝐲 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧, 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬, 𝐚𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐞𝐲𝐞. - Cath was left somewhat in the dark by her parents for a long time, and I think this is a true reflection of how things often play out in real life. Lots of us might have gone through things, or had bad things happen, when we were kids, and rather than discuss these things, the older generations somewhat sweep it under the carpet, and act like it never happened. Because of this young people will internalise their feelings and emotions, and they can feel like they don't get the closure they so sorely need. - 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐤𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐝. 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐝. 𝐌𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧'𝐭 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐈𝐟 𝐒𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 - 𝐢𝐟 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭, 𝐬𝐚𝐲, 𝐨𝐫 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐫𝐬 - 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲'𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫. - I loved the parallels between characters, especially Cath's Dad and Shirley's Dad (John), and how true it is that people make assumptions based on someone's character, without knowing everything they might have gone through. There is no doubt that John had a difficult and unusual upbringing, suffering emotional neglect and at times violence from his Father, and being rooted in stories of folklore, fairies, and superstition with his Grandmother, who seemed to be the only adult he felt safe with as a child. - 𝐒𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐥𝐞𝐲'𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐲𝐞. '𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐜𝐮𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐞𝐚, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮?' 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞, 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐭-𝐮𝐩 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲, 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐨𝐦𝐛. 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐡'𝐬 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐚 𝐜𝐮𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐞𝐚 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤, 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐩𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐮𝐩𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐬. - I loved the stories of folklore and fairies that were woven through the novel. I'm a real sucker for mythology and folk tales, but didn't know about Queen Mab before reading The Good Neighbours. The references to art and history were so interesting and intriguing, and I found Richard Dadd's story particularly fascinating. It does raise questions in the reader's mind about the fine line between creativity and instability, particularly when zealotism is involved. - '𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐦𝐚 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐲 𝐦𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐭, 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭'𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐠 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐩𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐮𝐩 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐨'𝐬 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐟𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡. 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞'𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬, 𝐚 𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐚𝐲𝐛𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥.' - I liked how the story progressed, and in particular how Cath was able to find more closure for Shirley's murder. Before visiting the Island and embarking on her project, Cath seems to not fully know who she is, or what she wants. She puts up with being mistreated by partners, and doesn't allow herself the freedom to be who she really is. By admitting her love for Shirley, even just to herself, she seems able to move forward and determine what she wants her life to be. - 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈𝐫𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐫, 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐟 𝐈𝐫𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝, 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐛𝐲 𝐠𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐛𝐲 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐟 𝐠𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬, 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐠𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐬? 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐚𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝, 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝𝐧'𝐭 𝐢𝐭? 𝐍𝐨𝐰 𝐬𝐡𝐮𝐭 𝐮𝐩 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧. - I would highly recommend The Good Neighbours to anyone who enjoys a true crime mystery, and to anyone interested in folklore. This felt like a perfect balance of the two. I would definitely read more by Nina Allan.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Phillips

    I did not expect to love this book as much as I do. The Good Neighbours opens with fifteen year olds Cath and Shirley planning a sneaky trip on the ferry over to mainland Scotland (they live on an island). We get a slight insight into what Shirley's family are like. Mum Susan who spends a lot of time with her three year old son Sonny and carpenter dad John who seems to be quite an angry man. Shirley is more outgoing and ballsy whereas Cath is more quiet and reserved. Fast forward to present day an I did not expect to love this book as much as I do. The Good Neighbours opens with fifteen year olds Cath and Shirley planning a sneaky trip on the ferry over to mainland Scotland (they live on an island). We get a slight insight into what Shirley's family are like. Mum Susan who spends a lot of time with her three year old son Sonny and carpenter dad John who seems to be quite an angry man. Shirley is more outgoing and ballsy whereas Cath is more quiet and reserved. Fast forward to present day and Cath now works in a record shop. Her passion is photography and she goes to photograph the house of a murder scene. A university lecturer in her 50s has been bludgeoned to death. This forces Cath to remember the death of her old childhood friend Shirley Craigie. Shirley, her mother and her brother had been shot at the home and John, her father, was killed in a car accident on the same day. The police believed that John had killed his family before committing suicide. Cath is not convinced and delves deeper into the case. She travels back to the island to see the Craigie house and discovers a woman named Alice living there. She befriends her and they start to work together on finding out what really happened. We read all about John Craigie's childhood and discover that he was convinced that fairies were real. The story has a lot of focus on Richard Dadd, a Victorian painter who killed his father because he believed that he was the devil. I don't want to give too much away because it is just a beautifully written book that I absolutely devoured. Nina Allan has done some great genre blurring here. At the beginning, I thought this was your standard crime novel but it is so much more. We have that crime aspect but with a hint of fairy mythology too. It explores how much people remember, we have conversations between Cath and Shirley in Cath's head and everything is blended really well. I loved it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Federica

    Very good book, I liked the plot which is full of secrets that become clear by the end and keep you entertained throughout the whole story. The characters also are well developed and the setting is greatly described. This was my first Nina Allan book, but I certainly will look out for more. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mona

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is a masterpiece, an absolute page-turner telling a heart-wrenching story of murder, loneliness and trauma. Cath is a photographer and record-store clerk living in Glasgow, who decides to go back to the island on the west coast of Scotland where she lived as a teenager and where her friend, Shirley Craigie, and her family were brutally murdered twenty years before. As she tries to complete a photographic project on murder houses, Cath also unveils the truth behind the death of the Craig This book is a masterpiece, an absolute page-turner telling a heart-wrenching story of murder, loneliness and trauma. Cath is a photographer and record-store clerk living in Glasgow, who decides to go back to the island on the west coast of Scotland where she lived as a teenager and where her friend, Shirley Craigie, and her family were brutally murdered twenty years before. As she tries to complete a photographic project on murder houses, Cath also unveils the truth behind the death of the Craigies, as well as falling in love with the woman now living in their house, Alice. Despite the plot owning a lot to classic crime fiction, this does not seem to be Allan’s aim in writing this story. Shirley’s father, John, is a complicated man. Angry, prone to violent outbursts, controlling and, pretty much, a bad guy. When his family is killed, his death in a car accident following afterwards, the blame is easily shifted on him. However, as Cath tries to understand what happened to her friend, she unveils a very different person. A lonely boy, tormented by the suicide of his younger sister, by the death of his best friend, and re-enacting the violence he suffered at the hands of his father. A sensitive man wrapped up in his belief in Queen Mab and a world of fairies, and also a skilled and genial carpenter. He is associated from the start with Richard Dadd, a Victorian painter equally captured by folklore, who then went on to kill his own father. The question throughout the novel is: would John Craigie kill his entire family? Or was he just easy to blame because he was a violent man? “I bet that animal never read a book” this is just one of the instances in which we see everyone around Cath misjudge John, as we later on learn that he cannot read. He was never thought how to do so, his father deeming school to be unnecessary. A carpenter that’s all was ever thought to be. The sections narrated from his point of view are the most beautiful parts of his novel. Allan experiments with the stream of consciousness in Scots, not hiding the ugliness of John’s thoughts, the violence in them. However, she leaves space for the hurt and the need for an escape. The result is two wonderfully crafted short stories in between the main plot line. This is a brilliant novel, dealing with so many complex themes at once. It is so precise, and I could not find fault with how the plot was structured. From the start, Allan sets us on the path for the truth, hinting at it, leaving the reader with a sense of how everything is perfectly connected. Finding out the truth about her friend does not only clear John, accused of having murdered both his children in cold blood, but also sets Cath free. It opens her life to new possibilities, as she decides to stay on the Island.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    “Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we dare not go a-hunting, for fear of little men. Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together; green jacket, red cap, and white owl’s feather!” - from ‘The Fairies’ by William Allingham, 1850. My thanks to Quercus Books/riverrun for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Good Neighbours’ by Nina Allan in exchange for an honest review. The Isle of Bute is embedded deep in Cath Naylor’s psyche. She had left when she was eighteen but has recently returned. She has ho “Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we dare not go a-hunting, for fear of little men. Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together; green jacket, red cap, and white owl’s feather!” - from ‘The Fairies’ by William Allingham, 1850. My thanks to Quercus Books/riverrun for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Good Neighbours’ by Nina Allan in exchange for an honest review. The Isle of Bute is embedded deep in Cath Naylor’s psyche. She had left when she was eighteen but has recently returned. She has hopes to become a freelance photographer and has plans to photograph ‘murder houses’. Central to the project is the draughty house overlooking the bay where in August 2001 carpenter John Craigie had murdered his entire family, including Cath’s best friend, Shirley, and then died in a single vehicle accident. The house is now occupied by Alice Rahman, a financial analyst, who has come up from London to live on the remote island. Cath and Alice become friends and begin to look into certain inconsistencies about the Craigie case. They discover that John Craigie was secretly obsessed with the Victorian fairy painter, Richard Dadd. In addition, when he was a boy John’s grandmother had told him tales of Queen Mab and the Faerie folk, the Good Neighbours of local folklore. These stories had left a powerful impression upon John. Yet how do these factors relate to the murders, if indeed he was the murderer? The case had been closed with his death. Throughout the novel Cath has many memories of her former life on the island. She also has an inner dialogue with the deceased Shirley, who always has a snappy comeback and is quite philosophical about her non-corporeal status. My first glance at the cover design incorporating elements of Richard Dadd’s iconic painting, ‘The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke’ drew me strongly to this novel. I had enjoyed Nina Allan’s 2019 novel, ‘The Dollmaker’ and was interested in reading more of her writing. Overall, I found this an unusual and intriguing mystery, quite low-key and focused on its characters as well as the evocative setting of the Scottish island as much as the original murders. I adored the way in which folklore was skilfully woven into the narrative as well as its down-to-earth appreciation of the Unseen. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mrs

    This is the first novel I have read by Nina Allan. This book is not the sort of book I would choose although a murder mystery it has a mystical feel about it. Do I like that or not. I think I could read more of this type of story. The story is about a lady called Cath and we see her growing up although the main premise of the story is set when she is older. Cath had a drama in her life which stopped her from going to University and instead works in a record shop and follows her photography passi This is the first novel I have read by Nina Allan. This book is not the sort of book I would choose although a murder mystery it has a mystical feel about it. Do I like that or not. I think I could read more of this type of story. The story is about a lady called Cath and we see her growing up although the main premise of the story is set when she is older. Cath had a drama in her life which stopped her from going to University and instead works in a record shop and follows her photography passion on the side. When she was a teenager, her family spent a few years living on a small Scottish Island. The drama in her life was when her best friend, Shirley was murdered as was Shirley’s mother and brother. It was thought that John Craigie, Shirley’s father was the murderer. He himself was killed on the same day in a road traffic accident. The Police, after investigating these tragedies decided that John has committed suicide due to him killing his family. John was not liked on the island and people thought that this was something he was capable of. Cath decides to return to the island and begins photographing her childhood home after revisiting paper cuttings of the murders 20 years ago. She meet the lady (Alice) who has brought the Craigie house and becomes very friendly with her and would like more. When visiting the house she has a feeling that maybe John Craigie was innocent. It comes to light that he actually believed in fairies and perhaps his mind was a bit off kelter. Alice, who has problems of her own, helps Cath but Alice’s husband, Saheed, is not keen on the relationship. He lives in London and the commute is difficult at weekends. He eventually gets his own way and Alice returns to London as she is pregnant and he feels she will be safer in London. Cath is not happy about this but has to accept it. The story becomes more and more interesting as Cath “talks” to Shirley and they formulate a plan to discover who the murderer really is. Eventually the story winds on until Cath is happy with the outcome of her search and research to find the killer. Enough from me as I will give away the story but a good read

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I’ll say from the beginning that I love this cover, it’s interesting and has so many little details that are related to the plot that after reading I look at it with different eyes. I have to say that if you start reading this book it will be impossible to put down till you arrive at the end, I started reading it one day when I wasn’t feeling well and I thought I would be able to read a little and then sleep; what a joke! I read it in one sitting and I didn’t sleep at all! This is a slow paced sto I’ll say from the beginning that I love this cover, it’s interesting and has so many little details that are related to the plot that after reading I look at it with different eyes. I have to say that if you start reading this book it will be impossible to put down till you arrive at the end, I started reading it one day when I wasn’t feeling well and I thought I would be able to read a little and then sleep; what a joke! I read it in one sitting and I didn’t sleep at all! This is a slow paced story, told by Cath’s perspective, a young woman who searches for answers of who killed her best friend when she was young. She never accepted that her best friend’s father, John Craigie, killed all the family and then had an accident leaving the Isle of Bute. She always felt guilty of not knowing what was really happening at Shirley’s home or knowing that her father was so dangerous. Now, she thinks she can make a photograph exposition about the house of the crime and maybe, discover why everything happened. The story is addictive and the mystery has a few twists, and it was interesting reading about folk tales around the fairies. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing supernatural about the case, but it has an important part showing John Craigie character and how it affected the whole the story. It’s interesting how the book shows us that we don’t never really know anyone, even the ones we love most and that they can always surprise us, for good or bad… If you are looking for a well plotted page turner book, believe this is a great choice! Are you ready to discover “The Good Neighbours”?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Geri

    Cath spent her teenage years on the Scottish island of Bute where her best friend was murdered along with her family. The girl's father died in a car crash and was subsequently assumed guilty of the multiple murder. Now in her mid 30s and attempting to make a career in photography Cath returns to Bute and gets caught up in trying to find out what really happened twenty years ago. The author describes the island (which I know personally) really well both in terms of the sense of place and of what Cath spent her teenage years on the Scottish island of Bute where her best friend was murdered along with her family. The girl's father died in a car crash and was subsequently assumed guilty of the multiple murder. Now in her mid 30s and attempting to make a career in photography Cath returns to Bute and gets caught up in trying to find out what really happened twenty years ago. The author describes the island (which I know personally) really well both in terms of the sense of place and of what it is like to live on the island. Cath is a well crafted character with her own flaws and insecurities. The central plot line around the unfolding of what happened is a good read. I particularly liked Cath's 'conversations' with her dead friend, imagining what she would have said in particular circumstances. This technique was also used effectively to imagine what other friends and family would say. I was less convinced by the friendship which Cath forms on the island with the woman who now lives in her friend's house and felt this was an unnecessary complication. The title of the book refers to the phrase used by some people to refer to fairies. Belief in fairies was a theme in the novel but I did not find it particularly strong or adding to the plot. Overall this was an enjoyable read which I would rate as 3.5 and will round up to 4 for the purpose of the starring system. My thanks to the publisher for sending me a complimentary ARC of this book via Net Galleyn return for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zara

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest, independent review. Cath works in a record shop, but hopes to become a freelance photographer. Her new project is photographing murder houses. She returns to the Scottish island where she grew up for the first time since she left at age 18, where she photographs the home of her childhood friend, Shirley, who was murdered alongside her mother and younger brother when she was a teenager. Befriending Alice, the new owner of the property, I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest, independent review. Cath works in a record shop, but hopes to become a freelance photographer. Her new project is photographing murder houses. She returns to the Scottish island where she grew up for the first time since she left at age 18, where she photographs the home of her childhood friend, Shirley, who was murdered alongside her mother and younger brother when she was a teenager. Befriending Alice, the new owner of the property, Cath tries to get to the bottom of what really happened to Shirley, and if Shirley's father was really the true murderer. This book was well written and the descriptions of the scenes were particularly strong - I felt like I was on a Scottish isle myself and could really picture it. However, I found the novel disjointed and hard to follow. It felt a little rushed at times, particularly the speed at which Cath and Alice's friendship developed. I didn't connect with any of the characters, so didn't really feel invested in the outcome. I was left feeling dissatisfied with the ending. I did like the folklore weaved in with crime. Others might enjoy it, but it was sadly not for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alina Barac

    Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right . . . Starting work on her new project - photographing murder houses - she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he's right . . . Starting work on her new project - photographing murder houses - she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the draughty house that overlooked the bay, the feeling of being nowhere, the memory of her childhood friend Shirley Craigie and the devastating familicide of her family by the father, John Craigie This is one deep story that sucked me in. I wanted to know what exactly happened to Shirley and her family, who killed them and how did all take place Nina Allan has a unique writing style and she didn't reveal much up to the end. It kept me wondering how events turned the way they did The Good Neighbours is most definitely a story of the past, a story of our attempts to make things fit the desire to interpret them

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kashya

    🔔 New Review 🔔 🧚‍♀️ Due for release 10th June 🧚‍♀️ The Good Neighbours by Nina Allan published by @riverrun_books Cath is a photographer who works in a record store and photographs Murder Houses. Cath also grew up on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, and dreamt of leaving the island along with her best friend Shirley Cragie as soon as she was able. Shirley didn't make it though. Her entire family was gunned down in their home in the early 00s. The main suspect was her father John, who is 🔔 New Review 🔔 🧚‍♀️ Due for release 10th June 🧚‍♀️ The Good Neighbours by Nina Allan published by @riverrun_books Cath is a photographer who works in a record store and photographs Murder Houses. Cath also grew up on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, and dreamt of leaving the island along with her best friend Shirley Cragie as soon as she was able. Shirley didn't make it though. Her entire family was gunned down in their home in the early 00s. The main suspect was her father John, who is believed to have committed suicide shortly after. Cath decides to head back to the island after almost 20 years to photograph the Cragie house. Queue and try to find some closure. Did you know The Good Neighbours is another term for Faerie Folk. Legend has it that Johnny Cragie knew Queen Mab. I give this book a sure fire 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ it is extremely well written, clever and has a lot of mystery and intrigue.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jet Silver

    Content warnings I wanted: (view spoiler)[Rape, from the point of the view of the rapist, who does not contextualise it to himself as rape. Unrelated psychosis, derealisation. (hide spoiler)] This felt like a rushed editing job, to be honest. There are consistency errors and the structure is fragmentary in a way that feels lazy rather than deliberate. I found the characters unlikable and the endgame predictable. I did like the parts that focused on Cath's photography practice. That rang true and Content warnings I wanted: (view spoiler)[Rape, from the point of the view of the rapist, who does not contextualise it to himself as rape. Unrelated psychosis, derealisation. (hide spoiler)] This felt like a rushed editing job, to be honest. There are consistency errors and the structure is fragmentary in a way that feels lazy rather than deliberate. I found the characters unlikable and the endgame predictable. I did like the parts that focused on Cath's photography practice. That rang true and I wanted more of it. It also featured that annoying element I hate: (view spoiler)[Spend most of the book teasing a supernatural influence, then the last few pages on lol jk ghosts and fairies are dumb. (hide spoiler)] I mean fine, but when you market your book one way and end it another, you get annoyed readers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sambooka23

    Now I do have Nina Allan's other book Dollhouse on my TBR but haven't read it yet - I will definitely be moving it further up the list as I was hooked with this book. My first read from Nina and wow, I can't believe it's taken me so long to read her books. Cath grew up in Scotland and has always dreamed of leaving the place she lives in. She has a very interesting hobby/job which is photographing murder houses. This book took me to places I didn't see coming and the shockers that Nina threw in d Now I do have Nina Allan's other book Dollhouse on my TBR but haven't read it yet - I will definitely be moving it further up the list as I was hooked with this book. My first read from Nina and wow, I can't believe it's taken me so long to read her books. Cath grew up in Scotland and has always dreamed of leaving the place she lives in. She has a very interesting hobby/job which is photographing murder houses. This book took me to places I didn't see coming and the shockers that Nina threw in definitely had me on the edge of my seat and wanting to read more. Definitely not my last read from Nina. Thank you to both Nina and Netgalley for allowing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Verity Halliday

    The Good Neighbours is a novel about a photographer, Cath, returning to her childhood home of the Isle of Bute to explore her own past and undertake an investigation of the murder of her best friend and her best friend’s family twenty years previously. Cath meets up with and befriends Alice, the Londoner who has bought the murder house. The present day storyline is interwoven with scenes from the past and influenced (maybe malignly) by the fairy folk - the eponymous Good Neighbours of the title. The Good Neighbours is a novel about a photographer, Cath, returning to her childhood home of the Isle of Bute to explore her own past and undertake an investigation of the murder of her best friend and her best friend’s family twenty years previously. Cath meets up with and befriends Alice, the Londoner who has bought the murder house. The present day storyline is interwoven with scenes from the past and influenced (maybe malignly) by the fairy folk - the eponymous Good Neighbours of the title. The story is well written, with well drawn characters, a great sense of place and just a hint of the magical. I enjoyed the read, although the pace was a little slow for me. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christelle Chamouton

    The book is intriguing by it's setting (a small Scottish island), by its main character and its story. I really enjoyed the book and, strangely, its warmth. The way the main main character handles her old friend's killing and the search for the truth isn't forced or over the top and at each page she is questioning why she cares so much and us with her. I did find the end of a bit rushed but prefer this one to the first book by the author. I cannot wait to read what she is going to write next. The book is intriguing by it's setting (a small Scottish island), by its main character and its story. I really enjoyed the book and, strangely, its warmth. The way the main main character handles her old friend's killing and the search for the truth isn't forced or over the top and at each page she is questioning why she cares so much and us with her. I did find the end of a bit rushed but prefer this one to the first book by the author. I cannot wait to read what she is going to write next.

  22. 5 out of 5

    G J PARKER

    An intelligent, entertaining, unusual crime narrative. The characters are far from stereotypical; the island of Bute is one of them. Faeries play their part, memories are fallible, the past a mystery as myths grow. "You have captured, I don't know, something disturbing and yet so normal at the same time. ... A person could be anything, and we'll never know." An intelligent, entertaining, unusual crime narrative. The characters are far from stereotypical; the island of Bute is one of them. Faeries play their part, memories are fallible, the past a mystery as myths grow. "You have captured, I don't know, something disturbing and yet so normal at the same time. ... A person could be anything, and we'll never know."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda Kelly

    Really enjoyed this and would have given it a 5* if there hadn't been such a glaring...and to me...annoying error at the end! Really enjoyed this and would have given it a 5* if there hadn't been such a glaring...and to me...annoying error at the end!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alice Hawthorne (whatalicereads)

    ‘The Good Neighbours’ is out 10th June 🧚‍♀️🏠📸 The Good Neighbours was a highly detailed and unique read, with threads of crime and folklore weaved throughout. I really enjoyed the Scottish setting, which reminded me of ‘House of Hollow’, a book I read earlier this year. I felt fully immersed in the rainswept island that Cath called home. It was almost a character itself, a dark gloom, the place where her best friend Shirley was brutally murdered. I didn’t love this book because I felt slightly de ‘The Good Neighbours’ is out 10th June 🧚‍♀️🏠📸 The Good Neighbours was a highly detailed and unique read, with threads of crime and folklore weaved throughout. I really enjoyed the Scottish setting, which reminded me of ‘House of Hollow’, a book I read earlier this year. I felt fully immersed in the rainswept island that Cath called home. It was almost a character itself, a dark gloom, the place where her best friend Shirley was brutally murdered. I didn’t love this book because I felt slightly detached from the characters and I wasn’t fully invested in the outcome of the story, the ending of which felt rushed to me. There was a lot going on and the author was ambitious in the use of dual narratives & using Scottish dialect. It was a really clever read and perfect for curling up on a stormy day, which is what I did. There were lots of references to Victorian art, history and lore of the Fae Folk. I didn’t love it but that’s okay - you might adore it! * thanks so much to @anabooks, @quercusbooks & @riverrunbooks for my gifted copy in exchange for review!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Carter

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti Wilson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Cantillon

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Geddes

  30. 5 out of 5

    David James

  31. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  32. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

  36. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  37. 4 out of 5

    Bristolian Books

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  39. 4 out of 5

    Zackman

  40. 4 out of 5

    Jake

  41. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

  42. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

  43. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  44. 5 out of 5

    Lakota

  45. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  46. 5 out of 5

    Clodagh

  47. 5 out of 5

    Teleseparatist

  48. 5 out of 5

    Terri-Jane

  49. 5 out of 5

    Runalong

  50. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  51. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  52. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  53. 5 out of 5

    Clare

  54. 5 out of 5

    Harri Tweed

  55. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Van Damme

  56. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  57. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

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