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Enter our competition for the chance to win tickets to an exclusive Edinburgh midnight signing of Jenny Colgan’s new book Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop as part of Book Week Scotland. Be one of the first to get your hands on a signed copy of the book and meet its author. To enter, just read the extract below and tell us which Scottish city the Christmas Bookshop is in.
The event will begin at 10pm on Sunday 12 November, with luxury hot chocolate and mulled wine at a prestigious Edinburgh hotel followed by a reading and midnight signing at the Christmas Bookshop (John Kay's Shop on Victoria Street), kicking off Book Week Scotland (13–19 November). The competition closes on Monday 6 November and winners will be notified by Wednesday 8 November. Two places will be reserved for each winner.
Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Snow was falling gently, piling up on the old- fashioned mullioned windows of the little shops on Edinburgh’s Victoria Street; laying calmly on the pavements; covering the world with its softness.
Behind the glass, all was warm and cosy; candles flickered and the fire burned brightly, keeping the icy fingers of winter from creeping in. Dim light danced up and down the decorated bookshelves. Here was a cacophony of books, spilling over, piled high, two deep on every shelf; promising escape: mystery, adventure; treasure maps and tales of old, of cabbages and kings; brave tales, pirates, worlds of frost; worlds that exist above the rooftops. Here was everything you needed for curling up in front of the fire and losing yourself, as snug as a dormouse in the wintertime, nestled in a blanket...
Carmen Hogan stood outside McCredie’s bookshop, scowling. The sun blazed down, and the snow machine was making a heck of a noise.
‘This is so stupid,’ she said to her hard- to-impress friend Idra, who had come along to watch and see if she could meet any massive movie stars who might be pivoting to small, local, download-only productions.
‘If I put that many Christmas decorations up in the shop, nobody could get to any of the books. And those are stupid, dusty fake books. What are they doing to my shop?’
‘They’re paying money is what they’re doing.’
Carmen snorted. ‘Not that much money. And I’ll lose it on people not coming in and buying detective novels.’
‘But you’ll make it back at Christmas when you’re that shop in that film.’
‘Oh yeah,’ said Carmen, brightening up. ‘I didn’t think of that.’
The little shop sat at the foot of the castle, in one of the prettiest areas in an already extraordinarily pretty city. This part of the old town curved up and around on two levels – Victoria Street and West Bow – from the great Grassmarket, a huge open space that had always had markets but was now also full of cafés and bars and people partying. The castle loomed above it, towering high and ominous, looking as surprised as anyone to be a huge medieval keep perched on top of a craggy extinct volcano, right in the middle of a modern city.
The little shops that curved up Victoria Street were all painted in different colours, adding to the charm. Alongside the magic shop and the hardware shop, there was a gloriously tweedy clothes shop run by a man so posh he had Crawford as a first name. And of course there was McCredie’s bookshop. McCredie’s had been falling into ruin the previous Christmas when Carmen had shown up after her department store had closed down. She’d been reluctant to take it on at first, but somehow she’d managed to make it just about pay its way and cling on, although its future was extremely precarious.
This competition is now closed. This page is for reference.