Bloody Valentine – Douglas Skelton

Bloody Valentine: Scotland’s Crimes of Passion is written by the brilliant Douglas Skelton. Some of you may know of him from his Davie McCall series or his most recent novel “The Dead Don’t Boogie” but what you may not know that Douglas is also quite the connoisseur of true crime fiction and has quite the back catalogue to his name. This may be born from the fact that Douglas was also once a journalist and criminal investigator.

Having been a long-standing fan of Douglas’s fiction series I thought I would take a wee look at some of his non fiction work and started off with #BloodyValentine and can I say what a start it was!


What the blurb says:

Love is the strongest emotion. It can bring people together but it can also drive them apart. For love can become twisted and evil. And, if obsession, jealousy and suspicion take hold, all other feelings can be prevented and sometimes lead to murder. In this disturbing catalogue of bloody valentines, crime writer and journalist Douglas Skelton delves into the darker side of Scotland’s psyche to uncover chilling crimes of passion where love turned sour and the outcome was lethal. 

What I say: 5/5

The Victorian era is described as a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence for Britain. And indeed that it may have been but #BloodyValentine reveals a different and much darker side of Victorian Scotland – one in which adultery, theft, rape and murder were common and not just from within the lower classes – no sir – those upper classes sure knew how to plan and commit murder alright and not just a quick bash over the head and cover you up job – no we are talking prolonged and devious methods of poisoning and brutality and often covered up by a declaration of love!

What I found fascinating in this period covered by Douglas is the very detailed and formal language used to describe the detail of the murder; the level of detail offered to the public when seeking out the identity of a victim or a subject and the things that doctors prescribed in those days – bet none of you have ever been prescribed champagne for stomach ache!

We then move onto the 1930s and into the 50s and the “sharp-faced Presbyterian” Glasgow – what a magnificently malevolent and dark backdrop for murder indeed!

I found it fascinating to read about forensics, post mortems and the investigative processes back then when we didn’t have all the scientific advances we do now; the macabre nature of the public who would queue eagerly to get into public galleries of trials (and how the galleries were split according to class) as well as line the streets for a good public hanging….God can you imagine what the social media posts and event invites would have been like in those days!

I loved reading about the streets of Glasgow from the townhouses of the wealthy around Sauchiehall Street, to the poorer areas of the East End and of course the gallows near Glasgow Green, my hometown has a deeply dark history and I love to walk round the streets and become immersed in the history of my dear Green place.

Highly recommend this book! Get yourself over to Amazon on the link below and get clicking!

Bloody Valentine – Douglas Skelton


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