Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia

Visit Britain- James Oswald’s Edinburgh

  • Submitted: 10th May 2017

I recently wrote an article for Visit Britain where three cities, selected for their literary prowess were featured – Edinburgh, Manchester, Norwich and London. Since it’s National Walking Month, there are a few essential tips to consider when you’re wandering around these fair isles for your next literary stop over:

The Visit Britain Booktrails appeared on the Visit Britain website:

Visit Britain


Here is the James Oswald walk in full:

Edinburgh – Walking in the footsteps of James Oswald

There is a writer who  puts the city on the modern map of crime fiction with his supernatural blend of murder and mystery. James Oswald has set novels in Morningside and invented a police station in the popular area of Newington – right at the heart of old  Edinburgh, in the shadows of Arthur’s Seat.


Natural CausesJames Oswald and Newington

The first book in the series and the one which really grabbed me by the throat. It’s a good one to start with as this evokes time, place and the unique setting that is prevalent in James’ other books.

Newington is the James Oswald part of the city as it’s where the police station is fictionalized but based on the local ones there and of course McLean’s tenement flat. Where the author lived himself as a student so the nuances of what it means to live in such a building with a shared staircase and hallway are very accurate!



James OswaldThe Book of Souls
and Festive Edinburgh

Edinburgh is well known for its festive flair but in James’ world, the Christmas offerings are of the grim and gritty reality – Be sure to visit the real Christmas market and the festivities on Princes Street – but be sure to explore the area of the city usually known for its beauty in real life – Salisburtyy Crags as you see all the souls of the city from this very vantage point. And if you have the book with you, you’ll maybe spot the killer. Head out of town to the Flotterstone Inn as featured in the book and have some criminally good food.






James Oswald The Hangman’s Song  and the Tram system

This book made me chuckle as well as made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as there is a nice quirky mention of the tram system which is still fairly new to the city – There’s lots of traffic on Queen Street and DI McLean observes:

“Digging up the roads to put in tram tracks had been one of Edinburgh council’s more inspired ideas”





James OswaldDead Men’s Bones and Scottish politics

It’s not just Edinburgh in this book but Fife too and some insights into the changes taking place across Scotland – “What little money leached out of the capital evaporated the further north you went into the old Kingdom. Past Auctermuchty and even the potholes felt like they’s been growing for decades.”

Back in the city and the areas of Holyrood and the Scottish parliament. There’s a politican at the centre of the scandal and crime here and where does he live? Well the West End and although the place is never specified, I put him in Circus Place as, well, the name just seemed to fit.



12Prayer for the Dead and  Gilmerton Cove

There’s a mystery and murder in the city’s underground caverns.

Gilmerton Cove is the place you have to go to visit them and see them for yourself. It’s a series of dark sandstone chambers and passages deep underground which used to be an ex mining village many years ago. Gilmerton is now a suburb of Edinburgh and the signs of its past are few and far between…until you go deep underground that is.






515Em6hyPpLWritten in Bones and Morningside

WIB more than puts Morningside on the map and shows the puzzling case about a body in a tree – read this and try not to look up the next time you walk in the park !




Be sure to follow the author himself here –



Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Twitter: @SirBenfro    Facebook: /jamesdoswald    Web: jamesoswald.co.uk

Back to Blog

Featured Book

Prophet Song

2023 Booker Prize Winner!

Read more