It Tolls for Thee: A Guide to Celebrating and Reclaiming the End of Life
By Tom Morton. Published by Watkins in the UK and USA, 9 February 2021. Available to pre-order
"This is Cross Kirk cemetery in Eshaness, Shetland, a pre-reformation chapel once thought to be a source of miraculous healing, until around 1660 the local church of Scotland minister, one Hercules Sinclair, burned the kirk down in a fury at such pagan notions. The cemetery however, is used to this day. There's a grave here bearing what may be Shetland's most famous epitaph:
"Donald Robertson, born 14th January 1785. Died 14th June 1848 aged 63 years. He was a peaceable, quiet man, and to all appearances a sincere Christian. His death was much regretted which was caused by the stupidity of Laurence Tulloch of Clothister (Sullom) who sold him nitre instead of Epsom Salts by which he was killed in the space of five hours after taking a dose of it."
But was there more to it? In my book, I ask if this might have been a case of murder most foul. Laurence Tulloch went on trial for culpable homicide and, though found guilty, he only served 8 days in jail. But… was Donald Robertson murdered due to the close friendship he had with a male housemate. Or with his young servant?
It Tolls for Thee is out on the 9th of February, published by Watkins. You can preorder it now in the usual places."