Many writers conflate creating a likeable protagonist with creating an interesting one. In Naming the Bones, Louise Welsh provides an excellent example of a character who is not the former, but is definitely the latter. I would not be interested in having Murray Watson for a friend, but I certainly enjoyed reading about him, even as I shook my head again and again over his personal life. The main thrust of this book concerns Murray's in-progress biography of a poet who only ever producing on slim volume of poetry, then died young, disappearing at sea off the remote island of Lismore. A carefully crafted sense of place, both in the cities of Glasgow and Edingburgh, and later on the island of Lismore also aids the reader in falling into Murray's world, and his obsession with Archie Lunan keeps us there.