Edinburgh, 1736: an indignant crowd has gathered in the Grassmarket to watch
the execution of a smuggler.
Opening with the start of the Porteous Riots, The Heart of Midlothian is one of
Walter Scott's most famous historical novels, featuring murder, madness and
Following his brutal suppression of the spectators, John Porteous, Captain of the
Guard, is charged with murder and locked up in Edinburgh's Tolbooth prison, also
known as the Heart of Midlothian. When news comes that he has been pardoned,
an angry mob breaks into the jail, liberating its inmates and bringing Porteous to
its own form of justice.
But one prisoner who fails to take this opportunity to flee is Effie Deans, who,
wrongly convicted of infanticide, has been sentenced to death. Jeanie, her older
sister, sets off to London on foot to beg for her pardon from the queen.
A tale of religious piety, filial devotion and legal loopholes, this edition of The Heart
of Midlothian has been expertly reworked for modern audiences by David Purdie.