Almost forgotten today, Lorna Moon wrote a book of short stories based on her home village of Strichen, after emigrating to America where she became a Hollywood scriptwriter. These three tales - deftly satirising the petty jealousies and hypocrisies of a small community - appalled her family and former neighbours when they first appeared in 1925. They are still as sharp and witty today.
28 pages, ISBN 1 902944 13 5 | £3.00.
BY SHUTTING the door to within three inches of the jamb, and moving her chair nearer the cat's hassock by the fire, old Kirsty could see Mistress MacNab's door and watch the mourners come and go.
She had been sitting there for three days, secretly watching, her dismay growing with every hour as she realised that it was possible that Mistress MacNab could carry her rage about the butter prize to the extent of not bidding her to see the corpse.
When Mistress MacKenty brought the startling news on Sunday evening that "Sandy MacNab had choked on a cold potato and hiccoughed himself to death," Kirsty had had a momentary qualm of doubt. She wished she hadn't openly scoffed at Mistress MacNab's butter and flaunted her own first prize on the way back from the show. It was "an unwise-like think to do with death so sure and life so uncertain; but who would expect a braw man like Sandy MacNab to choke to death on a potato?"
"And besides," she reflected, "Mistress MacNab, be she as angry as she may, would never bury Sandy without all the honour that was due to him." And who in all Drumorty would think of being buried without Kirsty Fraser to cry as the lid was screwed down? Had she no' cried at every funeral for forty-five years? And was it no' part and parcel of the ceremony for her to have a fit when the body was carried out? And was it no' true that the laddies of the village hung round the house of sorrow waiting for the chance to run for the doctor to bring her round?