Published: 01/10/2013
ISBN: 9781783061112
Format: Paperback

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About the Author

INTRODUCING THE AUTHOR Born in 1952 in Manchester, Alan Veale developed his creative imagination when given school homework at the age of 13: to write a fairy story... Here he answers some questions ... read more

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The Murder Tree
by Alan Veale

The small, frightened figure of Jessie McLachlan turned right at the top of the street and hurried on eastward, still clutching her precious bundle, starting a chain of events that were to rattle through history long after she was dead…

It can be murder digging up your family tree, especially when your ancestor is trying to kill you...

Chrissie Fersen desperately wants to know how she is connected to the death of a servant woman in Glasgow in 1862. Enlisting the aid of local librarian Billie Vane, she is determined to clear the name of the woman originally convicted of the crime. But her chief suspect appears to be alive and well – and it looks like he still has murder on his mind...

The Murder Tree introduces an unlikely pair of heroes: the American daughter of a wealthy businessman and a Manchester-born librarian working in Glasgow. Each have their share of domestic strife to deal with, while sharing a thirst to find out the truth about a 150 year-old murder. But deaths are still taking place today as far afield as New York, and trying to dig through the roots of this unique family tree becomes more hazardous than either Chrissie or Billie could have foreseen...

The Murder Tree is based on the true story of Jessie McLachlan, convicted of murder in 1862, but who famously accused an old man of the crime after being found guilty at her trial. Elements from the writing of Clive Cussler, Dan Brown and Ian Rankin are evident in the book, which will appeal to fans of crime and thriller fiction.

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The Murder Tree is a fictional story based on a true one: the murder of a Glasgow servant woman in 1862.
That grisly event is the focus of a new BBC Television documentary: The Sandyford Murder – Sgeulachd Jessie McLachlan to be aired in Scottish regions on BBC Alba on Thursday 5th December at 9pm, and then repeated on Monday 9th December at 10.30pm. BBC Alba is not available in the rest of the UK, but the programme WILL be screened on BBC iPlayer for seven days after the first broadcast. This is part of a series of four murder stories centred around Glasgow's infamous 'Square Mile of Murder', but will be of particular interest to anyone who has enjoyed reading The Murder Tree, and would like to know more about the facts and the people who inspired me to write my first novel.
The programme features actors playing the parts of Jessie McLachlan, James Fleming and Jess MacPherson, and also includes interviews with other knowledgeable historians. Some of the filming took place at the site of the murder, and I am most grateful for news of the programme from Yvonne Cunningham, who works there for Henry Abram & Sons.
Although some of the presentation is in Gaelic with English sub-titles, this should not put off anyone 'south of the border', as I have already watched the previous programme in the series (about Madeleine Smith) and found it totally fascinating.
So - don't miss this unique opportunity to delve deeper into a good story! More details about the broadcast can also be found at this link:

Mystery People

Glasgow Evening Times

Jam Publications

The Greenwood Tree

Lancashire Life

Lancashire Living

Cleopatra Loves Books

Daily News Digest

Book Garden

Blackpool Gazette

Books Monthly


Lytham St Annes Express

Blackpool Gazette


Hooks you right in.......

On reading the prologue I thought this book might not be for me (as I'm not in to period stuff) but how wrong I was, and by chapter 3, I was completely hooked.

The story keeps you involved to the conclusion and has you rooting for the main characters. There were a few details that I 'guessed' in advance of it actually being revealed but it didn't detract from how the story evolves and the conclusion of the story is suspenseful and well executed.

Whilst I'd not heard the factual story of the two Jessie's before reading this book, it has certainly inspired me to take the time to find out more.

For a new author this is a spectacular start and I look forward to reading more.

by Mrs L Dale

I was fortunate enough to purchase this book before its launch date via a book signing event.

Like the first reviewer I was unsure initially, but was totally hooked once I settled into the second chapter - so much so that I couldn't put it down and actually completed reading it within 48hrs.

I won't elaborate on the contents of the book as there is already information re this on 'the murder tree website' . I would , however, encourage anyone with a penchant for a psychological thriller to purchase this book and hope that there are many more to follow by this author.

Well done Mr. Veale, and keep writing!

by Gillian Smith

This is a very encouraging debut novel. From the compelling opening scenes, which swiftly engage the reader,to the imaginative and unexpected denouement,'The Murder Tree' takes us on an exciting trail through 19th century and modern day Glasgow. Well drawn, sympathetic characters inhabit a vivid world. Combine this with extensive research and attention to detail and the result is a cracking good original story. Congratulations, Mr Veale!

by S D Hinchcliffe

I was gripped by the book. The characters are really well drawn, especially Billy for whom I felt quite worried. I felt that it was good, exciting, puzzling, and frightening. There was some violence and some erotic bits, well balanced. All in all I can’t wait for the next tome. Thank you.

Vera Cummins
12 October 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed The Murder Tree. I was totally breathless by the end of it. Your characters were beautifully drawn and I really cared what happened to them.
Steph Boan
21 October 2013

I enjoyed reading the book. It is very meticulously researched, and this is reflected in the detail of the descriptions of the venues featured in the book. There is some very sensitive writing which shows the range of emotional reactions of people under stress. I like very credible characterisation very much, especially Abram. The blend of historical association and science fiction works very well, and the latter is powerfully deployed throughout.

Dr Glyn Morton
21 October 2013

by Received by Author

This novel covered many matters that I have an interest in: crime fiction, historical facts and family tree research. It took a couple of chapters for me to get into it, but once I did I enjoyed it and the last quarter of the book I didn't want to put it down. I read on The Murder Tree website that the author would like to write a follow-up depending on reviews and would like to say that I for one would another book.

by Stephanie Rothwell

In this tale, Fersen, the main character, wants to know how she is connected to an incident and person from 150 years ago. She sets out on a journey of discovery with a British librarian who shares her desire to find out if the accused is guilty of the crime she was convicted of, or if it was truly someone else. This is a well written, engaging tale that keeps you turning pages. It is based on the true story of Jessie McLachlan, who was convicted of murder, but blamed on someone else. It was very interesting to read of such a brutal crime committed by a woman. I couldn’t put it down. It was fascinating.

by L Schwarzman


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