His Bloody Project

His Bloody Project 1

by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Paperback / softback Age range: 0 to 0 years old Publication Date: 01/12/2015

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $17.50

Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae.

A brutal triple murder in a remote northwestern crofting community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There’s no question that Macrae is guilty, but the police and courts must uncover what drove him to murder the local village constable. And who were the other two victims?

Ultimately, Macrae’s fate hinges on one key question: is he insane?

A story ingeniously recounted through the accused’s memoir, trial transcripts and newspaper reports, His Bloody Project is a riveting literary thriller that will appeal to fans of Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites.

Age range:
0 to 0 years old
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Faber Factory
1st Edition
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Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and now lives in Glasgow.

He won a Scottish Book Trust New Writer's Award in 2013 and the following year he published his debut novel The Disappearance of Adole Bedeau.

His Bloody Project, his second novel, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • a cleverly constructed, thought-provoking novel

    by on

    His Bloody Project is the second novel by award-winning Scottish author, Graeme Macrae Burnet. It is presented in the form of a set of historical documents pertaining to murders committed in early August, 1869 by Roderick John Macrae. These ‘documents’ are ‘edited’ by Macrae Burnet, who explains in his preface how he came across this fascinating case. They include interviews with people who knew Macrae, Macrae’s own written account of events, a handy map, post-mortem reports on the victims, an excerpt from a book on mental illness written by J. Bruce Thomson, Resident Surgeon to the General Prison for Scotland at Perth, and an account of the trial proceedings, compiled from various press articles of the time. The Epilogue describes the aftermath to the trial.

    Roddy Macrae stood accused of three brutal murders, to which he freely admitted, and for which he, at no time, showed remorse. His solicitor, Andrew Sinclair had asked him to write his own account of events, and had also asked Mr Thomson to give an opinion on his client. It soon becomes clear that Mr Sinclair was hoping to have Macrae found Not Guilty by reason of Insanity. Roddy’s account is comprehensive, quite eloquent and credible and makes a compelling read in itself, but Macrae Burnet makes it even more interesting by throwing in a few conflicting facts and opinions with the other documents.

    By inserting these contradictions, Macrae Burnet leaves it to the reader to form their own opinion: was seventeen-year-old Roddy a cold, calculating murderer? Or, having lost the steady support and moderating influence of his mother, was he simply an overwhelmed young man, driven to a gross overreaction to his ultimate victim’s continued persecution of his family.

    Macrae Burnet easily captures the era with his descriptive prose, conveying not just the oppression suffered by the Highland crofters, but also the mindset of society and the prevailing knowledge of mental illness. This is a cleverly constructed, thought-provoking novel and it is easy to understand why it was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. It will be interesting to see what this talented author does next.

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