2021’s The Library of the Dead is the first volume in T. L. Huchu’s Edinburgh Nights near-future fantasy series.
The troubles are long over; that is, the people of Scotland are no longer troubled by freedom. The king, his oligarch allies, and their well-armed servants have everything well in hand. The little people of Scotland can look forward to serving their betters. If no betters want them, they can try eke out a meagre living in a collapsed economy. If they fail, they will experience homelessness and starvation. If they tire of that, they can annoy a cop and be beaten to death. Ah, sweet death.
Ropafadzo “Ropa” Moyo spends her days desperately trying to make enough money for her gran’s medications, also for rent and food, while also mothering her younger sister and trying to educate herself with audiobooks. Her desperate situation is clearly due to her poor lifestyle choices: being young, female, Black, and Scottish.
She is not entirely without resources. She has one rare gift: she can speak with the dead. She makes her meagre living delivering messages from the recently deceased.
The distance between messenger and informal private detective turns out to be quite small.