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War thriller sees Nazi sniper at Canisbay Kirk


By David G Scott


CAITHNESS features in a new novel by Australian writer Victoria Knox set in World War II.

It is entitled If Necessary, Alone and is the second in a series of war-themed books.

The thriller is set in Caithness in 1941 and the main character is Major Clement Wisdom from the "special duties" section of the Government.

Australian author Victoria Knox with her wartime thriller set in Caithness called If Necessary, Alone.
Australian author Victoria Knox with her wartime thriller set in Caithness called If Necessary, Alone.

Victoria admits she doesn't have any direct connection to the county but visited various locations throughout the area on two trips from Australia. "I went to Wick, John O'Groats, Huna, Canisbay, Castletown, Dunnet and Thurso to do research for the book in 2014 and 2016," she explained.

Victoria's enquiries took her to places such as the garden nursery in Castletown where she enquired about what species of shrub is commonly seen in the brown-leafed hedgerows of the countryside – which she was told is often beech.

"I also recall the severity of the wind and how the rain seems to come down almost horizontally. I have a real liking for the cold, barren places and this may be inherited as my mother was from Tasmania which has a similar climate to Caithness," she said.

Caithness is "a hub for wartime activity" in her new publication in which a German spy is suspected to be operating within the community. The protagonist, Clement Wisdom, heads to the far north of Scotland on an undercover mission to detect the spy but soon encounters a murder in the Canisbay area, followed by two more.

A German sniper shoots from the heights of Canisbay Kirk in Victoria Knox's latest wartime thriller. Picture: DGS
A German sniper shoots from the heights of Canisbay Kirk in Victoria Knox's latest wartime thriller. Picture: DGS

If Necessary, Alone has many details based on Victoria's research such as the sniper ensconced within the tower of Canisbay Kirk. Dunnet Bay is also featured as a rendezvous point between the spy and a German U-boat.

Clement Wisdom's second thrilling wartime adventure illuminates a lesser-known aspect of WWII with home front espionage activity.

As with the first adventure, In Spite of All Terror, the story never flags and Victoria Knox's background detail is impressive. She is now working on the third book of the series.

Both books are available from online book sellers, independent book shops and Waterstones.



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