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Hear No Evil

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529369113

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 2nd February 2023

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

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Glasgow, 1817: Jean Campbell – a young, Deaf woman – is witnessed throwing a child into the River Clyde from the Old Bridge.

If found guilty she faces one of two fates; death by hanging or incarceration in an asylum. But Jean’s deafness leaves her isolated and unable to defend herself, until the authorities call in Robert Kinniburgh, a talented teacher from the Deaf & Dumb Institution.

Through a difficult process of trial and error, Robert and Jean manage to find a rudimentary way of communicating with each other. As Jean grows to trust Robert, she reveals what really happened on that bridge over the river Clyde. And Robert, now embroiled in this dark case, must act quickly to ensure justice is served, before it is too late.

‘Based on a case from Scottish legal history, Smith’s novel skilfully combines crime fiction with a woman’s struggle to speak the truth’ The Times

‘Fascinating’ Sally Magnusson


A striking and stylish literary page-turner that breathes life into the past, illuminating a fascinating corner of history by revealing its lost voices and contemporary resonance. Smith's evocative storytelling and willingness to probe the murkier reaches of the human psyche make her a talent to watch!
Zoë Strachan
A fascinating exploration of deafness and human value amid the sights, sounds and smells of urban Scotland in 1817.
Sally Magnusson
I loved Hear No Evil, beautifully written and a real page turner with characters whose company I enjoyed greatly. It evoked the Edinburgh of that time brilliantly and vividly and gave such a wonderful insight into the early quest to understand and give a voice to people who cannot hear. The historical evocation of Edinburgh and the dramatic murder story were both so well done and so rewarding.
Elisabeth Gifford
A compelling and thoughtful exploration of a deaf woman's struggle for justice in Regency-era Scotland
Rebecca Netley, author of THE WHISTLING
'Fascinating... gripped me from start to finish'
Westender Magazine
A richly evocative telling. You can almost smell the reek of the old Edinburgh streets. Feel the brutality and inhumanity of it all... A gentle read that belies its power. A stylish murder mystery illuminating a fascinating corner of history.
C&B News
In Sarah Smith's debut, Hear No Evil, Robert Kinniburgh, a teacher at Edinburgh's Deaf and Dumb Institution, is summoned to one of the city's jails, where an unusual prisoner awaits interrogation. Jean Campbell, a deaf woman, is accused of drowning her child, but communication with her has been impossible. Kinniburgh, who employs a form of sign language, becomes the means by which she can tell her story, and slowly the complex reality of what happened emerges. Based on a case from Scottish legal history, Smith's novel skilfully combines crime fiction with a woman's struggle to speak the truth.
The Times
Dramatic and evocative . . . a stunning debut
Dumfries & Galloway Life