Close Quarters by Angus McAllister


Walter Bain is the self-appointed dictator of the tenement at 13 Oldberry Road in Glasgow’s cosmopolitan west end. For years, Walter has striven to impose his family values – stairs must be regularly washed, noise kept down, and wheelie bins moved back and forth at the correct times.

When Walter is found murdered, there are plenty of suspects among his ungrateful neighbours. Comic book dealer Billy Briggs is estranged from his daughter, with his business in ruins, and Tony Miller is jobless and facing eviction, all because of Walter. Henrietta Quayle, bullied and belittled by the dead man, conceals a murderous obsession beneath her timid exterior. And alcoholic solicitor Gus Mackinnon has even more reason to hate Walter than anyone else.

As Close Quarters takes a look back over the years at the various turbulent relationships between Walter and his neighbours, one thing becomes clear: although only one may be the murderer, none of them will mourn his passing.

Close Quarters is primarily a comedy and will particularly appeal to Scottish readers, as it satirises the traditional and sentimental view of Glasgow’s tenement life by placing it in a modern setting. The book will also appeal to readers of crime fiction.

MOMO’s REVIEW                   

This is a difficult book to write a review for, whilst I enjoyed the book and would recommend it as one to read, it is certainly not an easy book to categorise.  

The synopsis describes it as a comedy – hmmmm I would not use that term although there are certainly some parts that I found humour in but with the murder scene at the start it had a suspense throught the story trying to work out who had been involved. It is not a murder mystery so don’t be surprised if you think you know the culprit by the middle of the book, keep reading as it is worth it. 

The author has cleverly captured ‘life in a common close’ in a busy Scottish city centre. Anyone who has lived in a common close will get it immediately – and there you will find some of the humour – but if you have never lived in a flat then it is a lesson on the complications that can bring!   I grew up living in a close just like this in the centre of Edinburgh and many years later find myself in a smaller, quieter close in a smaller town in the central belt.  Both times there have been characters just like in this book and thats what makes life in a close so interesting.

There are sections of the book I felt were a bit long-winded and irrelevant but then they would fit into the story later on and therefore it was needed…. maybe its just a longer book that I am currently used to reading and thats what made the difference.

I do rate this author and have another of his novels on my shelf to be read and would certainly not hesitate to pick up another next time I see one.



  • TITLE: Close Quarters
  • AUTHOR: Angus McAllister
  • PUBLISHER: Troubador Publishing
  • PUBLICATION DATE:  26 April 2017
  • LENGTH: 505 pages
  • ASIN: B072P3JJV9
  • ISBN-10: 1788036689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788036689



Angus McAllister worked as a solicitor and university professor, and is now retired. For many years he wrote academic books and articles, as well as fiction. 
Angus McAllister online:  Facebook, Goodreads


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