Books Like The Turn of the Key

Books Like The Turn of the Key

From William Wallace to the Loch Ness Monster, there are plenty of reasons why Scotland is a favorite setting for many authors. It is a country with many beautiful and historic castles, thousands of lakes, and plenty of history. Scotland is also a place where the magical feels possible thanks to the many myths about selkies and fairies. With its rich culture and incredible landscapes, there is something unique about books set in Scotland. For example, The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, where a woman accepts a live-in nannying post in a luxurious smart home. However, things go very wrong, and the woman finds herself in prison awaiting trial for the murder of a young child. For more novels set in Scotland, check out the following books like The Turn of the Key. 

Hazardous Spirits

By Anbara Salam

Hazardous Spirits by Anbara Salam

Hazardous Spirits by Anbara Salam uses twentieth-century Scotland as the backdrop for its tale. Evelyn Hazard is a young, middle-class housewife living in 1920s Edinburg with her husband, Robert. Evelyn is living the life she’s always expected, but then Robert upends everything by claiming he can communicate with the dead. In doing so, Robert pulls the couple into the spiritualist movement, which in turn threatens to unravel Evelyn’s carefully composed world. As long-held secrets from her past begin to surface, Evelyn is faced with the question of whether her husband is a fraud, a madman, or even more frightening, actually telling the truth.


By Jenni Fagan

Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan

Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan begins in 1910 in Edinburgh when her father sends Jessie MacRae to a tenement building with instructions to bear a child for a wealthy man and his fiancée. Unfortunately, this results in a harrowing series of events that leads to the building and its residents being cursed. This curse will affect every floor of 10 Luckenbooth Close for the rest of the century. The book follows the stories of the residents of Luckenbooth as the curse creeps up its floors and affects everyone from an infamous madam and a spy to a famous Beat poet, coal miner, and psychic. 

Women of the Dunes

By Sarah Maine

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine

Women of the Dunes is a tale of love, tragedy, and threads that bind the past to the present by Sarah Maine. The protagonist, Libby Snow, is an archaeologist who has always felt the pull of Ullaness. This headland on the sea-lashed western coast of Scotland was home to the Sturrocks, who have owned the land for generations. Libby first heard legends of Ullaness from her grandmother, who learned it from her forebear, Ellen, who worked as a maid at Sturrock House. At the heart of these legends is an eighth-century Norsewoman named Ulla, whose legend is intertwined with the area. Libby is given the opportunity to excavate a mysterious mound in the area, but storms reveal the centuries-old bones of an unidentified man before she can even begin. As Libby investigates, she learns that she herself might still have a role to play in Ulla’s dark legend.

The Gingerbread Men

By Joanna Corrance

The Gingerbread Men by Joanna Corrance

The Gingerbread Men by Joanna Corrance is the tale of Eric, a man who abandons his fiancé, Eleanor, at the Edinburgh Christmas market. He does so to follow a mysterious woman to the Highlands, where she owns a hotel staffed by men like him who all have something to hide. These men carry out all the domestic chores in the hotel, where snow cuts them off from the rest of the world. Their evenings are spent beside the fire, telling stories in the hopes of entertaining the woman they serve. However, none of them ever question why there are never any guests, why it is always snowing, or why they can’t leave. Soon, Eric is plagued by seeds of doubt that cause him to delve deeper into the lives of the men at the hotel and the secrets they hold.


By Heather Critchlow

Unsolved by Heather Critchlow

Unsolved is a gripping Scottish crime thriller by Heather Critchlow about a man named Cal Lovett. Cal’s sister, Margot, disappeared when he was only a child, which made him obsessed with finding justice for the families of missing people. There’s only one man who seems to know something about what happened to his sister, but that man is behind bars and can’t be trusted. While he can’t help himself, Cal started a true crime podcast as his way of helping others, which causes the family of a missing Scottish woman to beg for his assistance. Call accepts and heads to Aberdeenshire in search of the truth, but the secrets he unearths lead him back to the heart of his family’s past.

The Shadowy Horses

By Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley is set on the windswept shores of modern Scotland, where archaeologist Verity Grey is searching for the resting place of the Ninth Roman Legion. The legion marched from York to fight the Northern tribes but then vanished from the pages of history. When a local boy “sees” the ghostly sentinel of a Roman soldier, Verity’s eccentric boss is convinced it is proof of the Ninth Roman Legion’s presence. Verity is initially very skeptical but finds herself unable to explain some of the phenomena she encounters during the dig. 

Diane Merrill Wigginton - Romantic, Suspenseful Page-Turner
FEATURED AUTHOR - Diane Merrill Wigginton was born in Riverside, California in 1963. Her family moved to San Diego near the end of 1970, where she grew up in the newly developed community of Mira Mesa. Spending portions of her summers each year in Burly, Idaho, with her mother's parents, Florence and Orval Merrill, Diane developed a love of animals and a respect for the land. It was during this time on the farm, where she learned to ride horses, herd cattle, and tame wild kittens that Diane developed a love of… Read more