In The Shadows of Calton Hill



by  Thomas Hoskyns Leonard


To Nicola, Valya and Elizabeth Rose


Complete draft version
Revised and updated August 2012

306 pages, 81800 words

© Thomas Hoskyns Leonard, August 2012




This ‘extravaganza of lust and crime’ refers somewhat obliquely to my real-life experiences in Wisconsin and Edinburgh. While the tone of the narrative is generally quite humorous, some of the underlying subject matter is more serious and numerous implied social messages are intended. They concern human sexuality, sex crimes, sado-masochism, vice rings in the higher echelons of society, academic intrigue, institutionalized religion, human spirituality, the primeval desire to murder, the evaluation of legal evidence, misuses of Statistics and Bayesian Decision Theory,  quasi-psychotic behaviour, psychiatric malpractice (e.g. Chapters 2,6, 16 and 17), and the physical mistreatment of our mentally disabled. A number of coded messages are hidden in the text, to amuse amateur sleuths.

         All of the fictional characters are original conceptions; no similarities with real people are intended and none should be inferred. This is with the exceptions of Professor Simon Southwood, who is modelled on a slightly wackier version of myself, and a muscular intellectual from South Ronaldsey (see Ch.4) who is based, with his permission, on a gentleman called ‘Spider’. Most of the bars and restaurants, are totally fictitious. Exceptions include Pasquale’s (Massimo’s), the Blind Beggar, the Oxford Bar and Frenchies.

         Parts of my narrative describe a stream of consciousness that characterizes Simon’s continuum of jumbled perceptions of the irrationalities of life. He is sometimes unsure whether or not he is observing reality, and whether he is a character in an ongoing dream sequence. My presentation is therefore at times quite unconventional. I personally find myself encountering a broad variety of people in a never ending sequence, some of whom behave in quite unpredictable ways. Simon occasionally wonders whether the people he meets, during his stream of consciousness, are real or imaginary.

         Trevor Harding suggested his home Gayfield House, which is close to Gayfield Square Police Station, as a possible scenario for parts of my story. Martin Cooper has kindly given me his permission to refer to the design and location of the Steamworks in Broughton Market, Edinburgh, when depicting my, otherwise fictitious, Guys and Galls sauna. I would also like to thank the Edinburgh artist Hugh D’Arcy for painting ‘Gabriel, The Dark Knight of Heaven’ for me. (See Ch.2)

         A few descriptive phrases are adapted from Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. John Stewart gave me permission to reuse his phrase ‘Please stand downwind of your sister’. The fictional character Crazy Horse Jack is partly based on a hyperactive death- row prisoner who appears in the film The Green Mile, which was adapted from a novel by Stephen King with the same name.

         Vito Alongi and David Morris provided me with useful inside information about Addiewell Prison and the Carstairs State Hospital for the criminally insane, James Campbell Q.C. advised me about the Judge Dearborn affair, and a solicitor called Ian has talked briefly to me about the erstwhile ‘Magic Circle’ of Scottish judges, lawyers and politicians.  A bus driver called Shuggy gave me his permission to use his Christian name for one of the characters.        

         I have received invaluable advice and support from a number of members of the Edinburgh Creative Writers Club, including John Stewart, Steve Rapaport, Stella Spencer and Michael Flett, and I have also received helpful comments, suggestions and information from Allan, Eystein, Bill, Jason Connolly, Dr. Ronnie Zhivago, Alan Russell, Jeanie, Ernesto, Cameron, Cedric and Nikolai. My thanks to everybody who has helped and encouraged me.



Simon Southwood, retired Professor of Scientific Inquiry
Malky McLachlan, Postgraduate in Gaelic Studies
PC Scott Bell, Gayfield Police
Momoko Mikado, nightclub hostess in Saturn's Rings
Agent Christina Romanski, Interpol


Bart Sobievski, Simon's companion and salesman at P&Q
Pasquale Pandorini, restaurateur
Rick McCoy, Bart’s former N.H.S. manager
DCI Claudette Brocklewell, Fettes Police
DS Winnie Shao, Gayfield Police
Dr. Heidi Romanski, C.I.A. Christina’s mother and Simon’s ex-lover
Lady Guinevere Rossleforth, Owner of Gayfield House
Canon Alan Russell, St. Gideon’s Apostolic Church
Dr. Niall Moriarty, Church treasurer
Dunk FitzDuncan, Pretender to throne of Scotland
Bernie Bernardo, Spanish-Moroccan hotel owner
Dr. Didier Blunt, forensic psychiatrist
John Strachan, Minister of Military Strategy
Andy Quirk, Antique Dealer
Sir Shuggy Montmorency, F.R.S. Simon’s former Ph.D. supervisor
Crazy Horse Jack, psychiatric inpatient
  © Thomas Hoskyns Leonard, 2012 - 2013