Sad to read of the death at 77 of former Mastermind host Magnus Magnusson today. As well as a respected figure in broadcasting he was very active in maintaining Scotland’s huge historical legacy and making it available to the public. He wrote a history of Scotland a few years back which is highly accessible and interesting; it also had some lovely personal touches (something history books can often lack) because he would describe a location which he himself had been involved in saving for the nation. In fact, I ended up giving that book as Christmas presents to several folks that year.

I met him several times at my old bookstore where he shopped (actually he opened it originally, back in the Old Days when bookstores were staffed by real booksellers) and I remember once spending ages talking to him and his wife because he was thinking about a new project looking into famous cases of forgery and trickery. He was genuinely interesting in picking a bookseller’s brain for some ideas and I also spent a good while thinking up different search strategems to find possible books he could look into. He was always very friendly and very well mannered each time I dealt with him. I guess he started and he did indeed finish.