"Perth: Scott's Fair City: The Fair Maid of Perth & Sir Walter Scott - A Celebration & Guided Tour" is a fascinating and enjoyable book; and a practical one.
One of the things that add to its fascination is that the book is so hard to categorise. You can get a sense of what it sets out to do from the blurb on the rear cover: "Sir Walter Scott's The Fair Maid of Perth is one of The Waverley Novels, a series that made Scott famous as the world s best-selling novelist and the pioneer of the historical novel. Set in the late fourteenth century against a background of feuding between King Robert III and Scotland's unruly nobility, The Fair Maid of Perth follows the fortunes of a pair of lovers caught up in the longstanding conflict between two opposing Highland clans: Clan Kay and Clan Chattan. Perth: Scott's Fair City is a celebration of Sir Walter Scott's The Fair Maid of Perth and a guide to the twenty-first century city through the looking glass of the story. It will delight those who live and work in Perthshire, visitors, and fans of Sir Walter Scott alike."
The book begins with a biographical sketch of Sir Walter Scott. We then look at the origins of "The Fair City" of Perth and the characters in Scott's novel before moving on to a synopsis of it. Some historical notes are followed by the real heart of the book, a guided tour of the centre of Perth with particular reference to The Fair Maid of Perth & Sir Walter Scott. We then look at the poet William Soutar's take on Scott's novel, and conclude with the story of the novel in 43 Tweets.
As I said, the book is difficult to categorise as it melds a city walking tour with the story of Scott's novel. Perhaps the most important question is whether we could see the book serving as a practical guide to this aspect of the city for residents and visitors. We could, and having been drawn in by the links between Sir Walter Scott's novel and its setting we now intend to use it for exactly that purpose ourselves.