Hear No Evil (Paperback)Sarah Smith (author)
Set in nineteenth-century Glasgow and Edinburgh, Hear No Evil draws from a landmark case in Scottish legal history to weave a stunningly crafted tale of communication, truth and trust, as a young deaf woman stands accused of a terrible crime.
Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month for February 2023
In the burgeoning industrial city of Glasgow in 1817 Jean Campbell - a young, Deaf woman - is witnessed throwing a child into the River Clyde from the Old Bridge.
No evidence is yielded from the river. Unable to communicate with their silent prisoner, the authorities move Jean to the decaying Edinburgh Tolbooth in order to prise the story from her. The High Court calls in Robert Kinniburgh, a talented teacher from the Deaf & Dumb Institution, in the hope that he will interpret for them and determine if Jean is fit for trial. If found guilty she faces one of two fates; death by hanging or incarceration in an insane asylum.
Through a process of trial and error, Robert and Jean manage to find a rudimentary way of communicating with each other. As Robert gains her trust, Jean confides in him, and Robert begins to uncover the truth, moving uneasily from interpreter to investigator, determined to clear her name before it is too late.
Based on a landmark case in Scottish legal history Hear No Evil is a richly atmospheric exploration of nineteenth-century Edinburgh and Glasgow at a time when progress was only on the horizon. A time that for some who were silenced could mean paying the greatest price.
Publisher: John Murray Press
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 240 g
Dimensions: 194 x 128 x 26 mm
'A striking and stylish literary page-turner that breathes life into the past, illuminating a fascinating corner of history by revealing its lost voices and contemporary resonance. Smith's evocative storytelling and willingness to probe the murkier reaches of the human psyche make her a talent to watch!' - Zoe Strachan
'A fascinating exploration of deafness and human value amid the sights, sounds and smells of urban Scotland in 1817.' - Sally Magnusson
'I loved Hear No Evil, beautifully written and a real page turner with characters whose company I enjoyed greatly. It evoked the Edinburgh of that time brilliantly and vividly and gave such a wonderful insight into the early quest to understand and give a voice to people who cannot hear. The historical evocation of Edinburgh and the dramatic murder story were both so well done and so rewarding.' - Elisabeth Gifford
'In Sarah Smith's debut, Hear No Evil, Robert Kinniburgh, a teacher at Edinburgh's Deaf and Dumb Institution, is summoned to one of the city's jails, where an unusual prisoner awaits interrogation. Jean Campbell, a deaf woman, is accused of drowning her child, but communication with her has been impossible. Kinniburgh, who employs a form of sign language, becomes the means by which she can tell her story, and slowly the complex reality of what happened emerges. Based on a case from Scottish legal history, Smith's novel skilfully combines crime fiction with a woman's struggle to speak the truth.' - The Times
You may also be interested in...
“Beautifully written, extensively researched!”
What a debut from Sarah Smith! The writing talent coming out of Scotland at the moment is immense and Smith is right up there with the best.
Based on a real case, and featuring some real characters from history,... More
“Good setting but overblown at times”
Glasgow 1817 and a young deaf woman is seen to throw a baby from a bridge. Committed to Edinburgh for trial Jean is alone and unable to communicate until Robert arrives. He is able to sign and, as Jean's sad... More
“A treat for lovers of historical fiction”
'She was aware of much more than people gave her credit for. Always had been...Not once did any hearing person treat her like she was the same as them.'
In Hear No Evil, Sarah Smith conveys a thrilling... More
Please sign in to write a review
Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App?