"Haunted Kirkcaldy" by Gregor Stewart should be considered essential reading for anyone with an interest in a part of Fife that tends to be bypassed by the main tourist routes through the area. Kirkcaldy lies around a broad curve of the north shore of the Firth of Forth. Often know as the Lang Toun (Long Town) it now incorporates a number of once separate surrounding communities like Dysart and Pathhead and has a main street that measures over four miles in length. Perhaps more significantly from the point of view of this book, it is a town with a long, varied and sometimes far from tranquil history.
What this means is that there is a wide range of material for the author to present to his readers, and he presents it very well indeed. The book is prolifically illustrated with black and white (and hence very atmospheric) photographs, and is written in an approachable and enjoyable style. It is also, very obviously, the result of considerable research and background work.
The ten chapters in the book take a thematic approach to the subject. Ravenscraig Castle and Balwearie Castle are each given chapters of their own. As are two historical incidents. One concerns a duel that took place near the town on 27 March 1822, which led to the death of Sir Alexander Boswell. The second is rather better known, and concerns the death on 19 March 1286 of King Alexander III, who was thrown from his horse on a clifftop track and whose death arguably defined the following seven centuries of Scottish history. Between the covers we also find stories of haunted hospitals and caves; of tales from the town centre pubs and hotels; and of odd goings-on relating to corpses and burials. The final chapter takes a broader look at ghost stories associated with castles a little further removed from Kirkcaldy.
You could argue that ghost books appeal most to people with a belief in ghosts. But "Haunted Kirkcaldy" is also likely to be of considerable interest to anyone, believer or otherwise, who wants to know more about the history of the area.