Scots The Saints of Scotland by Edwin Sprott Towill (St Andrew's Press l .95)
It is at first surprising, on perusing this book. to find that St John the Baptist is included and that St John Ogilvie is not.
Its purpose, however, is to provide short close-ups of a selection of saints, many of whom who have no direct Scottish connection, but whose names are commemorated in the country's place and church names, folklore, and even in the names given to ruins, farms and hills.
Mr Towill, formerly chaplain and principal lecturer in religious education at Dundee College of Education, has achieved a most readable book which should prove equally fascinating to Scot and Sassenach, Catholic and non-Catholic.
No doubt St John Ogilvie, of whose 1976 canonisation Scots Catholics remain fiercely proud, will be considered in some updated manuscript: he arrived on the scene. so to speak, too late for this particular publication.
The book. printed by the Church of Scotland's St Andrew's Press in Edinburgh, features mini-biographies of 45 of the better-known saints, and brief notes on many more.
On "Mary the Blessed Virgin," Mr Towill says: "Whatever our brand of Christianity, if we accept the Virgin Birth of Our Lord as a fact, Mary is unique among the saints.
"She alone of any created person held in her bosom the secret of the world's redemption for nine long months, then, for the remainder of her life, knew what the profoundest theologian can only guess at — how it all happened."
Mr Towill is at times rather clinical in his analysis of fact and legend, and his work is all the more acceptable for it. The saints and their reputations usually stand up to the examination, and the peculiar characteristics of their lives and times come alive.
The author has packed a great deal of research and information into 148 pages.