"Hidden Aberdeenshire: The Coast" by Fiona-Jane Brown takes the reader on a fascinating excursion anti-clockwise around the Aberdeenshire coast from Formartine (the area some ten miles north of Aberdeen itself) to Pennan. The book is divided into eight geographical chapters, and within each chapter we are presented with a series of sub-section, each describing a place to visit or recounting a fascinating story or snippet of history associated with a particular place. There are maps at the start of each chapter allowing the locations being discussed to be identified and, if you are proposing to use the book as an "on the road" guide, to be found; and each of the sub-sections is illustrated with a suitable colour photograph. The overall effect is a little like a book-based edition of the BBC's "Coast" programme, a comparison which is intended to be complimentary to the TV series and to the book.
A look at the chapter about "Crimond" gives an idea of the sort of thing found between the covers. We open with an account of the St Fergus murder case of 1853, a classic example of a jury returning a uniquely Scottish verdict of "not proven". We then take a look at the history of the ruined chapel of St Mary of Rattray, a place with an intriguing story and, thanks to this book, a new addition to our "must visit" list. "The Rattray Pirates, Fact or Fiction? Seatown of Rattray" does what its title suggests and discusses an ill-fated fishing village briefly established at Rattray. There is then a section about the history of Crimond Airfield, including a discussion of the design flaw in the Fairey Barracuda aircraft, that it was prone to leaking hydraulic fluid into the cockpit which rendered pilots unconscious: with obvious and fatal results on many occasions. We then discuss Crimond Kirk and its Curious Clock. The result is to bring to life this area for residents and visitors alike: and each area covered receives the same treatment.
The book is entitled "Hidden Aberdeenshire", and while the author's previous book on Aberdeen explains why it is not included, it is worth knowing that the definition of Aberdeenshire chosen is a historical one which allows scope for future works covering areas such as Stonehaven in the south and Banff to the north west, which are excluded from the current volume.