On 14 May 1752 a single shot rang out on an Appin hillside above the mouth of Loch Leven. Many regard it as the final shot in the final act in the series of Jacobite rebellions that had taken place over the 63 years since James VII/II was ousted from the thrones of Scotland and England. The unhappy target of this fatal shot was Colin Campbell of Glenure, manager of the Hanoverian government's estates in the area. What became known as the Appin Murder resulted in one of the most famous miscarriages of justice in Scottish history when an innocent man, James Stewart or James of the Glen was convicted of the murder and hanged.
The Appin Murder achieved widespread fame when it became a key incident in the plot of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped (and the subsequent miscarriage of justice was the backdrop to the sequel, Catriona), though Stevenson moved the murder back in time to July 1751 to fit with his story. Many have since become fascinated by the murder, and by the remarkable journey of the main characters in Kidnapped Undiscovered Scotland has to admit to an interest here. Some years ago we proposed the idea of a "Stevenson Way" based on the overland route taken in Kidnapped.
But Ian Nimmo's fascination has lasted much longer and goes much deeper, and this wonderful book is the result of over 40 years' research into the murder and into the route plotted by Stevenson for his fugitives in Kidnapped. The result is a "must read" for anyone who wants to know much more about the Appin Murder. And his insights into the route that Stevenson had in mind when writing Kidnapped are superb. Still better, the fact that he can compare and contrast aspects of the route as it would have been in 1751, as it was in the 1960s when he first became interested in the subject, and as it is now, adds another dimension to an already excellent book.