Published: 15/12/2017
ISBN: 9781788038942
Format: Paperback

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Now Prisoner Within
Murder, Riot and Crime in Argyll
by Lindsay Campbell

Don’t draw your dirk in old Argyll - The Fiscal’s watching!

Twelve previously untold stories of violent crime, riot, theft, psychopathy and fraud.

Argyll in the early 18th century was a place of improving industry, stabilising economy and hard working farmers, fishermen and town dwellers. But behind the respectable facade of the county towns, and hidden among the damp green hills, crime was rife. Now Prisoner Within exposes the criminal activities that were taking place from Campbeltown to Keil, Tobermory to Dalmally, and beyond.

Supported by original documentary research and on-site work among the hills, fields and ruined cottages, each chapter describes the background to the crime, the social patterns of life in the district and the county towns, and the legal system which invariably brought the criminals to book. The myriad of witness statements are untangled, lost locations found, old escape routes traced and motives behind the actions of some of the criminals are studied. One crime is possibly solved over 300 years after it occurred, and the anomaly in the midst of another is explained. In other chapters islanders rebel against mainland rule, inebriated gentry brawl, a son kills his father, and town burgesses show their true colours.

These stories of the law enforcers and law breakers whose lives crossed in the courtrooms of old Argyll have largely disappeared into history, but the crimes detailed in Now Prisoner Within, bring perpetrators, prosecutors, victims and communities back into focus, describing true tales of axe and alcohol, pistol and poison - and one particular criminal who managed to skip the embrace of the gallows rope.

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