Nemo Me Impune Lacessit’ by Denise Mina
When I was asked if I wanted to review a crime fiction story for Bloody Scotland, the International Crime Writing festival I jumped at the chance.
The story was ‘Nemo Me Impune Lacessit’ by Denise Mina. A quick check on Google told me this translated to ‘No one provokes me with impunity’ (although when this comes up in the book its explained as “Cross me and Suffer”), A Latin Motto from the Royal Stuart Dynasty and is the written above the entrance to Edinburgh Castle (Thanks Wiki!). All of the short stories in the specially written book revolve around a Scottish landmark building, and so the setting for Denise Mina is Edinburgh Castle.
The story begins as the family (Parents Audrey and Pete with their three children – Jake, Hannah & Simon) venture on a touristy day out in Edinburgh. We instantly learn that Jake has ongoing behavioural issues, boarding on psychotic. He has to be watched all the time, and makes life hard for everyone. A sudden personality change on the day out rings alarm bells but also brings relief which allows for Jake to become the older brother that Simon always wanted. It’s when the parents finally relax and have a moment to themselves everything changes.
Being a short story everything happens so quickly, we learn a lot about people, in a fragmented way which I was trying to piece together as I went, but as it turned out I didn’t need all of the information in the end anyway. It’s a great coffee break read, with just enough history of the castle to make you feel like you have learned something but without taking over the story.
There’s a multitude of wonderful Scottish Authors who’ve contributed to this book, with some brilliant other short stories to pique your interest; My recommendation? Head out to Waterstones or visit the shop at www.historicenvironment.scot to buy the book and read them all!