SHORTLISTED FOR THE BLOODY SCOTLAND DEBUT PRIZE 2022
‘Beautifully written and a real page turner –a wonderful insight into the early quest to understand and give a voice to people who cannot hear. ‘ Elisabeth Gifford
‘A fascinating exploration of deafness and human value amid the sights, sounds of smells of 1817 urban Scotland.’ Sally Magnusson ‘told with great empathy and heart’ Guinevere Glasfurd
‘A striking and stylish literary page-turner that breathes life into the past‘ Zoe Strachan
‘skilfully combines crime fiction with a woman’s struggle to speak the truth’ The Times
In the burgeoning industrial city of Glasgow in 1817 Jean Campbell – a young, Deaf woman – is witnessed throwing a child into the River Clyde from the Old Bridge.
No evidence is yielded from the river. Unable to communicate with their silent prisoner, the authorities move Jean to the decaying Edinburgh Tolbooth in order to prise the story from her. The High Court calls in Robert Kinniburgh, a talented teacher from the Deaf & Dumb Institution, in the hope that he will interpret for them and determine if Jean is fit for trial. If found guilty she faces one of two fates; death by hanging or incarceration in an insane asylum.
Through a process of trial and error, Robert and Jean manage to find a rudimentary way of communicating with each other. As Robert gains her trust, Jean confides in him, and Robert begins to uncover the truth, moving uneasily from interpreter to investigator, determined to clear her name before it is too late.
Based on a landmark case in Scottish legal history Hear No Evil is a richly atmospheric exploration of nineteenth-century Edinburgh and Glasgow at a time when progress was only on the horizon. A time that for some who were silenced could mean paying the greatest price.