This spring I’m being haunted by Mary, Queen of Scots. Having finished the first draft of my latest novel, ‘The Queen of Scots Mystery’, I’ve now temporarily moved on to the task of sourcing props for – guess what? – an amateur theatre production of ‘Mary Queen of Scots got her head chopped off’ by Liz Lochhead. It’s one of those productions where the props are random and weird, ranging from a miniature portrait, some tarot cards and a decorated hand-mirror to two sets of dominoes, confetti and one of those old-fashioned car horns that clowns sometimes use.

In honour of this unintentional synchronicity, I’ve started a new Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/sheilamcperry/the-queen-of-scots/

There are plenty of images to choose from, because Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most famous and controversial people in Scottish history, but perhaps my favourite is the picture of the ‘Mary Queen of Scots clarsach’ in the National Museums of Scotland. I have a tenuous personal connection to this. During one of my sporadic attempts to trace my family history, I discovered that this clarsach was supposed to have been given to one of my ancestors by Mary, Queen of Scots. The story is that the ancestor was the best clarsach player in Scotland, but I must say a label I read at the museum once casts doubt on this claim, suggesting the household had a specialist clarsach player and my ancestor probably wasn’t much good at all. Of course this can neither be proved or disproved, which is an example of the frustrations of tracing family history!

I started the Pinterest board half-hoping to be able to populate it with pubs called ‘The Queen of Scots’, but oddly enough a Google search hasn’t returned any real pubs of that name, so I’ve had to resort to using other kinds of image. I wonder if this is an unlucky name for a pub or something. Certainly there was quite a bit of bad luck attached to the one in Pitkirtly in my latest trip there!

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