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The Party house is the rental to die for... Carrbridge crime writer Lin Anderson talks about her latest book which has just been published

By Margaret Chrystall

Writer Lin Anderson in the wood at Carrbridge.
Writer Lin Anderson in the wood at Carrbridge.

It didn’t take Carrbridge crime writer Lin Anderson long as Covid emerged to see the chance to write a one-off standalone thriller inspired by some of the issues around the pandemic.

Speaking in the days before her new book The Party House is published, Lin said: “I had the idea to do something as a one-off novel and I had drafted out something I would like to do if I had got around to it.”

But Lin is best-known for her series of crime novels featuring Scottish forensic scientist for the police Dr Rhona MacLeod.

Lin laughed: “Rhona fans are very keen to get the next one!”

But she found she had the time to explore her ideas and decided to set her location for the new book very close to home …

In fact, look closely at the surroundings in The Party House and it all starts to look a lot like Lin’s home village of Carrbridge!

“I wanted to look at how it might feel to be the person under suspicion in a small village or community,” Lin said.

“Instead of looking at it from the investigator’s point of view, I wanted to look at it from the community’s point of view and the impact of that on folk.

“When I wrote my first one-page outline of the story, I was in Carrbridge, my home village for lockdown.

“We were very lucky because we could still go out and walk, though you were awfully careful if you met somebody in the woods.

“People took it very seriously and quite rightly so.

“So I just thought ‘I might write this now!’ and used the world I knew, but in the aftermath of a pandemic – though I didn’t specify Covid.”

In the book, the scenario includes a beautiful ‘party house’, rented out by a local estate to rich people, generally from the south.

Lin said: “The biggest complaint is not that people come up here and stay in a house and enjoy the Cairngorms or wherever they are, it’s just that it doesn’t matter where they are, they don’t care! They are not there to see where they are and of course that is the big point in the book.

“We did see a lot of incidents when we were supposedly in lockdown where wealthy people felt that didn’t apply to them remotely. And I think when everyone else was doing their best, they just thought they could escape to a quieter place in the UK.

“They felt they could just head for the Highlands, but they didn’t care if they took the virus with them.”

In the book, there has already been a tragedy in the village when the estate decides to reopen the property to tourists. It sparks anger, the house is damaged –and the body of a young girl is found.

Events put a strain on gamekeeper Greg and his new girlfriend Joanne’s blossoming feelings, and each becomes suspicious the other is keeping secrets...

The Party House is just out (August 4).
The Party House is just out (August 4).

• The Party House by Lin Anderson (Pan Macmillan, £14.99) is out now in hardback and as an ebook (£13.49). More info visit Lin's website.

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