Convicted murderer James Nelson ripped the Church of Scotland apart when, in 1969, he applied to be a minister of the Kirk. The proceeding debate about the role and nature of forgiveness became a media spectacle, placing Nelson’s crime — no regular murder — firmly in the spotlight. The Minister and the Murderer follows the details and aftermaths of the Nelson case to construct a wide-ranging, genre-bending book of history, theology, biography, and more.
Stuart Kelly is a critic, author, and literary editor of The Scotsman, whose writing regularly appears in The Guardian and The Times. As a lifelong member of the Kirk, though by turns devout, contrarian, and questioning, Stuart writes with depth and precision about the development of belief and ethics in the Scottish psyche, while simultaneously unravelling the motivations and actions behind the worst imaginable act. This book is a veritable smorgasbord: part murder-mystery, part ethical dialogue, and entirely captivating for readers of all stripes.