There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Thursday 24th 2017 – Saturday 26th August 2017

Thursday 24th August

Lin Anderson & Antti Tuomainen

 Thu 24 Aug 10:15am – 11:15am The Spiegeltent £12.00, £10.00

Lin Anderson & Antti Tuomainen

There’s no getting away from Scandi noir – even in Scotland. In Lin Anderson’s Follow the Dead, a fatal helicopter crash in the Cairngorms seems to reveal a Norwegian government minister’s involvement in a vice ring. Meanwhile, Antti Tuomainen, ‘the king of Helsinki noir’ arrives with The Mine, a tale of a deadly environmental disaster cover-up.

Kate London & Yrsa Sigurdardottir

 Thu 24 Aug 3:45pm – 4:45pm Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre £8.00, £6.00

Kate London & Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The vulnerability of young girls is the sad heart that beats through new novels from ex-Met detective turned author Kate London and bestselling Icelandic crime writer Yrsa Sigurdardottir. The former’s Death Message begins in 1987 with a missing 15 year old. In the latter’s The Legacy, a 10 year old is the only witness to her mother’s brutal death.


Mark Billingham with Chris Brookmyre

 Thu 24 Aug 7:15pm – 8:15pm Studio Theatre £12.00, £10.00

Mark Billingham with Chris Brookmyre

Sponsored by


A personal tragedy takes DI Nicola Tanner off the case of a series of killings but she works it on the fringes alongside DI Tom Thorne in Mark Billingham’s Love Like Blood. Dubbed as ‘the year’s most shocking crime novel’, Billingham certainly turns the screw as Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career when he is drawn into a disturbing underworld. Chris Brookmyre quizzes the author about his latest bestselling book.

Friday 25th August

Doug Johnstone & Barney Norris

 Fri 25 Aug 2:00pm – 3:00pm Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre £8.00, £6.00

Doug Johnstone & Barney Norris


Edinburgh-based crime writer Doug Johnstone and playwright Barney Norris will have your adrenaline pumping with their latest novels. Johnstone’s Crash Land starts in the departure lounge of Kirkwall Airport, where a chance meeting leads two people into peril, while Norris’s literary debut Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain features a car crash which shatters a sleepy cathedral town.

Vote for Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris in the First Book Award.
The Wellcome Trust Event

Visions of the Future: A Good Death

 Fri 25 Aug 7:30pm – 9:00pm Garden Theatre £12.00, £10.00

Visions of the Future: A Good Death

Sponsored by

Wellcome Trust


Over 50% of people say they want to die at home, yet most of us will still die in hospital. What is our relationship with death as it becomes increasingly medicalised? Many people will never see a dead body – what does that mean for our own sense of mortality? Novelist and palliative care nurse Steven Amsterdam joins Bristol University’s Professor of Philosophy and author of Phenomenology of Illness Havi Carel for a discussion chaired by broadcaster and cleric Richard Holloway.
Part of our Visions of the Future series of events.

Saturday 26th August 

Michel Bussi & Arne Dahl

 Sat 26 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre £8.00, £6.00

Michel Bussi & Arne Dahl


Black Water Lilies by bestselling French author Michel Bussi is named after a rumoured Monet masterpiece, which seems to be a magnet for murder. Sweden’s Arne Dahl, whose novels have already been translated into over 30 languages, launches a new series with Watching You, where a serial killer seems to be toying with his detective. Join them for a feast of the finest European fiction. Chaired by Jenny Brown.
For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at, Facebook Page, Twitter page at or Instagram at


There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Sunday 20th August 2017 – Wednesday 23rd August 2017


Sunday 20th August

J M Gulvin & Antonio Manzini

 Sun 20 Aug 4:30pm – 5:30pm

 Bosco Theatre (George Street)

 £12.00, £10.00


Fish-out-of-water investigators tie together the new crime books from J M Gulvin and Antonio Manzini. Gulvin’s Texas Ranger John Q is out of his depth in a hostile Louisiana as he tries to solve the mystery of a missing blues singer in The Contract, while Manzini’s A Cold Death has Rome deputy police chief Rocco Schiavone finding a small town mentality less than cooperative as he probes an apparent suicide.

Monday 21st August

Eva Dolan & Volker Kutscher

 Mon 21 Aug 10:15am – 11:15am

 The Spiegeltent

 £12.00, £10.00


Two bestselling crime writers at the top of their game discuss character and assassination. In Eva Dolan’s fourth Zigic and Ferreira investigation, a trans woman has been murdered. Was it a hate crime or a case of mistaken identity? Meanwhile, German author Volker Kutscher transports us back to 1930s Berlin. Investigating the violent on-set death of actress Betty Winter, Inspector Gereon Rath encounters the dark side of glamour.

Abir Mukherjee & Kaite Welsh

 Mon 21 Aug 2:00pm – 3:00pm

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00


Kaite Welsh, journalist and critic, presents a brilliant new historical crime series set in the underworld of Victorian Edinburgh and featuring the medic-detective, Sarah Gilchrist. Abir Mukherjee offers a second turn for Captain Sam Wyndham and ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force. The first in the series, A Rising Man, won the Telegraph Harvill Secker crime writing competition.

Vote for The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh in the First Book Award.


Tuesday 22nd August

Jake Arnott & Steven Price

 Tue 22 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm

 The Spiegeltent

 £8.00, £6.00


London’s criminal history is the topic at hand for Jake Arnott and Steven Price in their new novels. In By Gaslight, Price lands us in 1885 with the celebrated detective William Pinkerton descending into the Victorian underworld to track down the notorious Edward Shade. Arnott goes even further back to the 1720s in The Fatal Tree, drawing on the true story of criminal couple Elizabeth Lyon and Jack Sheppard. Chaired by Roland Gulliver.

Heinz Helle & Louise Welsh

 Tue 22 Aug 8:45pm – 9:45pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


Isolated individuals trying to survive are at the core of these two authors’ new books. Glasgow’s Louise Welsh concludes her Plague Times trilogy with No Dominion as the new community on the Orkney Islands fights fear, anger and suspicion in order to maintain equilibrium. Germany’s Heinz Helle offers up a post-apocalyptic nightmare which envelops a group of men on a weekend away in the Alps.

 Wednesday 23rd August

Thomas Enger & James Oswald

 Wed 23 Aug 2:15pm – 3:15pm

 Garden Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


The latest instalments from two celebrated kings of crime have their protagonists digging up the past and delving into their cities’ dark hearts. In Cursed, Thomas Enger’s veteran crime reporter Henning Juul finds the professional clashing with the private as a missing woman reveals secrets in Oslo. Meanwhile, bestselling Scottish writer James Oswald has Inspector McLean dealing with a high profile death, a man who literally dropped dead in a tree. Chaired by Lee Randall.

Chris Brookmyre

Wed 23 Aug 8:15pm – 9:15pm

 Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00



The man behind bestselling books such as Quite Ugly One Morning and Black Widow tackles the sinister side of modern technology with Want You Gone in which a young woman is blackmailed online and drawn into a possibly deadly trap. A veteran at keeping crowds hanging on his every word, Chris Brookmyre tells us what his hero Jack Parlabane gets up to next in his own highly entertaining style. Chaired by Lee Randall.

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at, Facebook Page, Twitter page at or Instagram at

There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Wednesday 16th August 2017 – Saturday 19th August 2017


Wednesday 16th August

Quintin Jardine

 11:45am – 12:45pm

 Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


Incredibly, admirably, we have reached mystery number 27 in the Bob Skinner series as the irrepressible Quintin Jardine announces Game Over. When a supermodel is found savagely murdered in her flat, suspicion switches from her footballer husband to others connected to his new club. Matters are complicated further when a prime suspect is finally identified and Skinner’s lawyer daughter leads the defence team.

Ben Aaronovitch

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


The bestselling PC Peter Grant series barnstorms on with Ben Aaronovitch penning The Hanging Tree. Once more, Grant is forced to traipse through the secret nooks and crannies of London, this time to investigate a murder in the circle of super rich guests at a terribly exclusive party. Aaronovitch tells us how he pulls together the various strings of magic, privilege and an everyday copper to produce another fictional gem.


Thursday 17th August

Louise Doughty & Ariana Harwicz

 10:15am – 11:15am

 The Spiegeltent

 £12.00, £10.00


Hear two prize-winning authors whose work has received plaudits here and abroad. Louise Doughty follows her top 10 bestseller Apple Tree Yard with Black Water. Set against the Indonesian military dictatorship of the 1960s, it explores dark events through the story of one troubled man. In Die, My Love, Buenos Aires-born Ariana Harwicz writes about violence and eroticism as she casts her gimlet eye on the conventional view of family life.

Vote for Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz in the First Book Award.

Gbontwi Anyetei & Ryan Gattis

 7:00pm – 8:00pm

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00


Urban crime dramas with maverick central characters connect these two novels. Gbontwi Anyetei’s Mensah drops us into a deprived part of London where an African community is served well by the eponymous problem-solver until one job threatens everything. Gattis’s Safe is anything but as an LA gangster-turned-double agent goes rogue before quitting the game, endangering others in the process.

Vote for Mensah by Gbontwi Anyetei in the First Book Award.


Denise Mina

 7:15pm – 8:15pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


Acclaimed crime fiction writer Denise Mina has recently dipped her toe into the often controversial world of the true crime novel. The Long Drop recalls the 1957 pub encounter when Peter Manuel convinced William Watt that he could find the weapon used to kill Watt’s family. And little wonder, given that serial killer Manuel was the man behind the slaughter.


Peter Høeg & Michelle Paver

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


Twenty-five years after his acclaimed novel Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, Peter Høeg shares his topical Danish techno-thriller The Susan Effect, set at a time of political unrest. Michelle Paver, well-known for her award-winning children’s books, brings us a ghost story for adults, Thin Air, set 23,000ft up in the Himalayas on a 1930s expedition, retracing the steps of a tragic climb. Two international bestselling authors, the same page-turning excitement. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.


Friday 18th August

Lesley Glaister & Clemens Meyer

 5:00pm – 6:00pm

 Writers’ Retreat

 £8.00, £6.00


Bricks and Mortar, by Clemens Meyer, follows a young hooligan who becomes a slum landlord and service provider to prostitutes in a cinematic narrative about the sex trade in a great East German city. Marta, the heroine of Lesley Glaister’s The Squeeze, is a teenager trafficked from Romania and forced to become a prostitute in Edinburgh. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.

Kjell Ola Dahl & Alex Gray

 7:00pm – 8:00pm

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00


A key figure in Nordic Noir teams up with a Tartan Noir stalwart. Kjell Ola Dahl has just published Faithless, another tale for his Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich to get their teeth into, as a woman’s body is found wrapped in plastic. Alex Gray’s Still Dark reacquaints us with her DCI sleuth, William Lorimer, as a New Year’s Eve is disturbed by carnage at a Glasgow house party.


Saturday 19th August  


Dexter Dias

11:00am – 12:00pm

 Garden Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


Dexter Dias is a QC who has handled some of the biggest cases in the land and has a formidable reputation among his fellow barristers. He has also written five novels. Yet his new book, The Ten Types of Human, is completely different. A pioneering examination of human nature, it examines the best and the worst that humans are capable of. Chaired by Ruth Wishart.


John Gordon Sinclair

 7:15pm – 8:15pm 

 Studio Theatre 

 £12.00, £10.00


Putting yet further distance between himself and Gregory’s Girl, John Gordon Sinclair introduces his third crime novel, Walk in Silence. When an organised crime outfit kidnaps a boy and demands one of their own is released, lawyer Keira Lynch is caught in a bind. Should she co-operate with people who once shot her or is she about to play a deadly game of cat and mouse?

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at, Facebook Page, Twitter page at or Instagram at

There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Saturday 12th August – Tuesday 15th August 2017


Saturday 12th August

Paula Hawkins

6:45pm – 7:45pm 

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00


The Girl on the Train was not only a huge number one bestseller in 2015 (smashing all manner of Dan Brown-shaped chart records), it also became a massive success in cinemas a year later. Zimbabwe-born Paula Hawkins’s second novel, Into the Water, has had fans turning pages at a furious pace as her central character Jules digs around for the truth behind her sister’s mysterious death.

Angus Peter Campbell & Iain F Macleod

 Sat 12 Aug 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00


An award-winning poet and novelist in both Gaelic and English, Angus Peter Campbell’s Memory and Straw is a novel about artificial intelligence and a quest for authenticity that ranges from New York to Rome via the Highlands. In Gaelic novelist Iain F Macleod’s Dioghaltas, a police inspector returning to Lewis quickly finds he has three murders to cope with.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich with Val McDermid

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00


The Fact of a Body is an enthralling piece of non-fiction storytelling. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich came face to face with a child murderer on death row during a law internship. A fierce opponent of the death penalty, she was shocked to find herself overcome by the urge to see him dead. Digging deeper into the man’s case, she realized something in his story was unsettlingly familiar. Marzano-Lesnevich reveals how her experience forced her to face her own story and unearth long-buried family secrets. She talks to Val McDermid.

Sunday 13th August

James Runcie

11:45am – 12:45pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00


In Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love, the sixth and final book in James Runcie’s Grantchester Mysteries, we have moved forward to the 1970s and our amateur detective priest finds himself investigating drug-dealing hippies. An engagingly witty talker about his work, Runcie has also had the satisfaction of seeing it become a prime time TV success. Chaired by Allan Little.

Mario Giordano & Tim Walker

 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Bosco Theatre (George Street)

£12.00, £10.00


Not all crime’s streets are dark and mean. Bavaria-born Mario Giordano’s eccentric protagonist heads for the Med in Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, while Brit Tim Walker opts for a Californian coast setting in Smoke Over Malibu, described as ‘Lovejoy meets Lebowski’, where the theft of a vintage cookie jar sparks an ‘inaction thriller’. Two reminders that soft-boiled mysteries can be fun too. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.

Jorn Lier Horst

 5:45pm – 6:45pm

Garden Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Christmas 1983 in a small Norwegian town, a young police officer investigates an unsolved mystery which will shape his life for the coming years. Jorn Lier Horst devotees will be delighted to learn of the prequel to the bestselling William Wisting series, When It Grows Dark


Martin Holmén & Michael J Malone

 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00


Our thirst for compelling European crime fiction seems unlikely to ever be quenched, so thank goodness for the likes of Martin Holmén and Michael J Malone. The former’s Down for the Count is a no-holds barred Swedish thriller about a former boxer hell-bent on vengeance having just been released from jail, while the latter’s Dog Fight has been dubbed as Glasgow’s Fight Club. Chaired by Joe Haddow.

Monday 14th August

Russel D McLean & Karolina Ramqvist

 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00


Two women are left picking up the pieces when their boyfriends disappear leaving behind debt, danger and despair. Russel D McLean’s fantastically entertaining modern noir, Ed’s Dead, has bookshop worker Jen accidentally killing her drug dealer boyfriend. The White City is the celebrated bestseller from Karolina Ramqvist, an intimate portrayal of a woman’s downfall through her complicit relationship with the world of crime.

Stuart MacBride

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00


Aberdeen’s Stuart MacBride steps away from Logan McRae and Ash Henderson, the characters who have regularly planted him in the bestseller list, for A Dark So Deadly, a stand-alone thriller featuring DC Callum MacGregor. Having been demoted to a squad of misfits, MacGregor stumbles upon a huge case when a mummified body turns out to have been the work of an appalling serial killer. Chaired by Brian Taylor.


Tuesday 15th August 

Peter Robinson

 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00


When it comes to long-running detective series in the UK, the pile-up of DCI Banks stories are leaving most of the rest behind. Sleeping in the Ground is the 24th instalment and revolves around mass murder at a church wedding. Peter Robinson tells us how a writer keeps the energy and inspiration going when it comes to a single crime-solving character.


For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at, Facebook Page, Twitter page at or Instagram at








Wendy H Jones Killer’s Crypt

This is the sixth book in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries

Where better to dump a dead body than in a crypt? As the body count rises faster than the soaring temperatures, DI Shona McKenzie is hurtled into the midst of another deadly case. But this killer is always one step ahead of the law. Why? The revelation will shock them to the core.

Launch: Monday 14th August 6pm Waterstones Dundee



There’s been a murder interview with Ian Skewis

1. How did you get started writing? 


I started writing in 1989. I had some poems published in a local paper, which then led to an invite to join the team of a local free paper called The West-Ender. I lasted there for about half a year before I needed to leave in order to pursue my studies at art school in Aberdeen.


2. What drew you to write a novel? 


In 1979 my family and I discovered a dead body of a man hanging from a tree in the countryside. I was nine years old. I felt compelled to write about it some ten years later, perhaps as a way of dealing with it. The idea was to write a graphic novel, but as time went on it developed into a proposal for a stage play, and then, after many years of putting it off, and then dusting it down and looking at it time and again, it finally transformed into the first draft of what would become A Murder Of Crows. It took that long!


3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? 


Alan Moore's graphic novel Swamp Thing was an early influence and I'm a big fan of Graham Greene, Ian McEwan and Iain Banks. My writing was once compared to Banks' early work, which was flattering, but I try to just be myself really.


4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest? 


It was difficult in that there is so much information and so much mis-information it's tricky to know where to start searching. I was lucky in that my novel was snapped up very quickly (after some 28 years of working on it!) and now it's having a bit of a snowball effect. In the end you have to do what's right for you, which isn't necessarily going to be the correct thing for other writers.


5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one? 


Alice Smith seems to be everyone's favourite and she was my favourite character to write. I enjoyed writing from the perspective of someone who has dementia and it was very troubling living inside her mind for the duration of that story. A challenge, but it was absolutely worth it.


6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novel? 


I was regularly in touch with an ex-police officer, who taught me about the procedural aspects of the story. I also did some research on dementia, though it exists in my family, so some of that came from direct experience.


7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life? 


Some of them are, but only loosely, though I did write a short story, Inkling, which featured a deceased acquaintance of mine. I had a really weird dream about him and wrote it down. It was then published in The Speculative Book.


8. How do you feel about being on the list for the Not The Booker Prize?


I was shocked! Pleasantly so. I had no idea I'd been put forward for it. I never got through to the short list, but to be honest, I didn't expect to. The competition was very fierce. But I'm very happy to have been a contender.


9. Do you see any of your characters' personality in yourself and vice versa? 


Yes, there are elements of myself in the two protagonists, Jack and Scott. Despite the fact that they are poles apart they both share an introspection and, for Jack certainly, an empathy for others. That's very me.


10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might have planned.


I'm currently working on the sequel to A Murder Of Crows, which is coming along nicely and has some very surprising twists, some which even I did not see coming! I'm also working on two other book proposals and a short story anthology entitled Borrowed, which is being crowdfunded at the moment.


11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any crime writer alive or dead, who would it be and why?


Whilst I'm carving out an identity for myself as a writer I can't conceive of writing with someone else. Never say never, but I do like the solitary confinement of writing.


12.  Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel?


Have courage. Don't procrastinate. Just go out there and do it.

‘There are shades of Iain Banks’ early works in here, and that is a very good thing.’
Russel D McLean, 2014.

A Murder Of Crows is the debut novel by Ian Skewis.

An intriguing dark, crime thriller that is both psychological and unsettling.

The story begins when the most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above the fictional town of Hobbs Brae on the west coast of Scotland – a young couple, Alistair and Carol, take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again.

Jack Russell is the detective who tries unsuccessfully to maintain a relationship with his estranged wife and his all too distant son. Approaching retirement, he agrees to undertake one final investigation as a way of escaping his personal problems and ending his career on a high. He is assigned to the case of Alistair and Carol – a case that he believes will be solved easily.

However, the clues in the forest lead him to the unnerving conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a killer. But the arrival of a stranger with an unlikely alias and the machinations of an ambitious adversary, conspire to lead him unwittingly into a trap devised by a serial killer who knows him all too intimately…



Amazon Author Page


There’s been a murder author interview with Claire Macleary 

1. How did you get started writing?  

I’d always wanted to write. Won essay prizes at school, read English at university, held down jobs in advertising. But for years I was too busy running my own business and raising a family to contemplate anything more. It was only when my children reached senior school that I joined a Dundee University Continuing Education class in Creative Writing. At the end of the year, the group – Nethergate Writers – published an anthology of short stories. I was in print!



2. What drew you to write a novel 


Having a number of my short stories published increased my confidence.

A window of opportunity then allowed me to enrol on a one year full-time course in Creative Writing at Dundee, where what became the first scene in my crime novel formed part of my first semester writing folio. My 17,000-word dissertation showed me I had the ability to move beyond the short story so, after graduating MLitt with distinction in 2011, I sat down to write Cross Purpose.



3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? 


My style is pared-down, leaving much to the reader’s imagination. It has evolved over time and been subject to many influences: Dickens and Dostoevsky in my teens, Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver in my twenties through to Edith Pearlman and Carol Shields in the present day.

Writers I aspire to include: Chekov, Katherine Mansfield and Lorrie Moore for their short stories, William Boyd for his breadth of vocabulary and empathy, Alice Munro for close observation, Jayne Anne Phillips for dense, lyrical prose.



4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest? 


It took several years between completing my novel and seeing it in print.

My first break came when I successfully pitched to agent Jenny Brown, who encouraged me to work with crime editor Al Guthrie.

I then submitted the synopsis and first three chapters of Cross Purpose to a handful of publishers. All of them asked to read the full manuscript. Two made an offer.

I chose to sign with Saraband, under their dedicated crime imprint, Contraband. Owner Sara Hunt offered me a two book deal. Her author Graeme Macrae Burnet was subsequently short-listed for The Booker Prize.



5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one? 


My readers’ favourite is Big Wilma, probably because she’s larger than life and a bit dodgy.!

I find all my characters absorbing. They live in my head, and have a habit of speaking to me, often at four in the morning. I rarely know what they’re going to do next. If there’s one that intrigues me, it’s ‘baddie’ James Gilruth. It will be interesting to see when, and if, he shows his weak spot.



6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novel? 


Until I set out to write a crime novel, I’d read hardly any crime, other than the occasional spy thriller, so the first thing I did was read extensively: mainly Scottish, but also Scandi, French and Italian authors.

In plotting my novel, I deliberately steered away from the well-trodden path of the detective with a drink/divorce problem or the highly-skilled forensic scientist. Instead, my protagonists are two ill-matched non-professional ‘women of a certain age’ – the sort of characters readers’ can readily identify with. Think Tartan Noir meets Happy Valley!

More specific research involved a visit to the Dissection Room at Dundee University’s Life Sciences faculty and to the Council Mortuary in Aberdeen, along with reconnaissance visits to Aberdeen locations I planned to use.

I also sought the assistance of a former Aberdeen detective and a private investigator.



7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life? 


No, though they are informed by experience. In the 80s, I lived as a university wife in Old Aberdeen and my son went to nursery in Seaton, so I saw first-hand the void between student life and the deprivation experienced by many residents in Seaton, as evidenced by Willie Meston and his gang of toe-rags.



8. How do you feel to be on the short list for the Bloody Scotland 2017

Macillvaney crime book of the year award 


I’m a huge admirer of the late Willie McIlvanney, founding father of Tartan Noir, as Scottish crime fiction has come to be known.

I heard the news on a boat in Bratislava. Sara Hunt, my publisher, had been trying to call me. My phone was switched off, and there was no Wi-fi reception other than in Bratislava’s Old Town. So I rushed ashore, found a bar, and the rest… Well, how would you feel if your debut novel was up there with Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Lin Anderson, Ian Rankin?

I was, as Big Wilma would say, “knocked off my stotter!”



9. Do you see any of your characters’ personality in yourself and vice versa?


My daughter tells me I go at everything head-on, so perhaps there’s a bit of that in Wilma. I’m also driven, as Maggie is in her quest for justice. Plus, my favourite tipple is red wine!



 10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might planned.


I’ve recently submitted to my editor the first draft of Burnout. Every bit as “dark and devious” as Cross Purpose, the second in the Harcus & Laird series features the same cast of characters and addresses white collar domestic abuse. Burnout is scheduled for launch next spring.


11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any crime writer alive or dead, who would it be and why


Where do I start? There are so many crime writers I admire and to whom today’s crime fiction authors owe a debt of gratitude. However, I’ll opt for a woman, and that woman is the late Phyllis James. Why? Because she was so wise, and so gracious with it. Also because she lived to a ripe old age!

12. Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel?


Be realistic. Getting published is a long process. You won’t earn much and will often be disappointed.


If you’re still motivated, sit down and do it. To help you along, join a writing group/book club/evening class. Seek out other writers. Start to think like a writer.


Persevere. It’s 90% a question of chipping away and 10% luck.
Claire MacLeary

When Maggie Laird’s disgraced ex-cop husband suddenly dies, her humdrum suburban life is turned upside down. With the bills mounting, she takes on his struggling detective agency, enlisting the help of neighbour ‘Big Wilma’. And so an unlikely partnership is born.
But the discovery of a crudely mutilated body soon raises the stakes… and Maggie and Wilma are drawn into an unknown world of Aberdeen’s sink estates, clandestine childminding and dodgy dealers.
Cross Purpose is surprising, gritty, sometimes darkly humorous – a tale combining police corruption, gangs and murder with a paean to friendship, loyalty and how ‘women of a certain age’ can beat the odds.

Author, Contraband, the crime imprint of Saraband, publisher of the Man Booker shortlisted ‘His Bloody Project’

Debut novel ‘Cross Purpose’ longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize 2017

Cross Purpose events:

 – NoirAtTheBar Dundee 26 July



Publisher Website

Amazon Author Page


Crime at the Castle with Wendy h jones 

A Funny Thing Happened on a Day at the Castle 

My tale is a lesson on what can happen when you take a punt. A couple of months ago I had a day out at Glamis Castle. There was a Royal Robes exhibition on, and I particularly wanted to see it. The exhibition is spectacular and well worth seeing by the way.


What is even more spectacular is what grew out of that visit. I have long been interested in running a crime event at Glamis Castle. I got chatting to a lovely American lady who worked there. It turned out we were both writers so I enquired who I would ask about putting on a Crime Writing Festival there. It turned out the lady I was chatting to, Pauline Cawdery, was the very person I needed. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together.


From a day out, Scotland’s newest, and most unique, Crime Festival was born – Crime at the Castle. I am honoured and delighted to have been one of the co-founders with the castle. My good friend, Suzanne Milne, has now come on board and is a very welcome addition to the organising committee. I am pleased to say she is as excited as I am about the event, and I’m sure between us all we will make it a great success.


Glamis Castle have been amazing. The event will use the whole castle, including the Dining Room, Drawing Room, Queen Mothers Sitting Room, Chapel and 16th Century Chambers. The bookshop and book signings will be held in the Crypt. There is a cracking line-up of top Crime Writers. Who are they, I hear you ask? That, my friends, will have to remain a mystery. All will be revealed at the end of July.


The date for your diary is 24th February 2018. Ticket sales will open at the end of July, when the speakers are officially announced. Until then, make sure it’s in your diary, and watch this space.

There’s been a murder author interview with Tana Collins


 1. How did you get started writing


I always loved writing short stories at school but it was many years before I attempted to write a full length novel. The seeds must have been germinating in my mind though as I woke up in the middle of the night about ten years ago with a working title and opening scene of a violent murder and that story became my debut novel, Robbing the Dead.


2. What drew you to write a crime novel


I had never even read a crime novel until I picked up Peter Robinson’s In a Dry Season, about thirteen years ago. I loved the blurb on the back of the book and the fact it was set in two timeframes, present day and Second World War. As soon as I started reading it I was knocked out, not just by the characterisation, but by the strong sense of place Robinson manages to convey in his portrayal of Yorkshire. I knew then that I wanted to write a novel with a strong sense of place. And I knew it would have to be set in Scotland.



3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?


I have to admit to being a massive Enid Blyton fan when I was a child. The Secret Seven books were the first series I ever read and I guess the author got me wanting to write a series of my own! Peter Robinson was my biggest influence. I was thrilled when I found out he was giving a summer writing course in Estonia a few years ago. I booked myself on it and flew out. That was quite an adventure. I love Henning Mankell for his characterisation and social commentary. I’m also a big fan of Peter May and Ann Cleeves.


4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?


I was incredibly lucky. I waited until I had three completed novels before I started trying to find a publisher. I got picked up by Bloodhound Books who offered me a three book publishing contract last October within eight months of looking for a publisher.


5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel,do you have a particular favourite one?


I like both my leads, DCI Jim Carruthers and DS Andrea Fletcher. I only noticed when I finished writing Robbing the Dead, that Carruthers is more like me in personality and Fletcher has more of my life experiences.


6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novel


I’ve done a lot of research for all of my novels. Robbing the Dead is based on a true event that occurred in the early 1970s. I like to find interesting details about events which humanise them and which we can all relate to. The second novel, Care to Die, was also inspired by events back in the 1970s and how these events have impacted on people’s lives over forty years later. In some ways it’s an even darker read than Robbing the Dead. For the third novel, Mark of the Devil, which is definitely not about the 1970s, I had to do a lot of research on international art crime which was fascinating.


7. Are the characters in your book based on any real life


I think as a writer most of our main characters are based on people we know to some extent but they are usually made up of several different people. A couple of my characters are based on people I used to work with twenty years ago when I first moved to Edinburgh but I had better say no more than that!



8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Crime Fiction Novels out there


I’ve had some amazing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for Robbing the Dead which have thrilled me! It’s hard to believe that in the first fortnight of publication the novel sold nearly 1,000 copies. Readers seem to like the fast pace of my novels (no slow burners for me!) the flawed but likeable characters and the fact I try to make my storylines interesting and original.


9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?


In terms of personality I’m probably more like Jim Carruthers than anyone else. We both tend to brood and both like our ‘alone’ time. And we both love the environment. A little known fact about Jim is that he is a member of the RSPB but he won’t admit that to his colleagues. He’s also got his flaws. He’ll cut corners when he thinks he can get away with it, has difficulty with authority figures and can be hot headed but basically he’s a decent guy doing a difficult job.


10.If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned


Care to Die is being published on 1st June 2017 so I’m really excited about that. It has the same set of characters as are in the first novel but their personal lives have moved on. Like the first book it is set in present day Fife but our Inspector Carruthers has to fly to Iceland in this story. The novel has lots of twists and turns so will keep our investigative team busy.


11.What was your favourite Scene to write and why


I’m not sure I have a favourite scene although I do like the early scene where we first meet Inspector Carruthers and see him leaving his Anstruther cottage to go to the locus where the body of the young man has been found. I enjoy weaving in some local colour and history of the place I’m writing about and Fife is full of both!


12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share


Don’t give up! I can’t tell you how close Robbing the Dead came to being ditched. And the truth of it is that early on it just wasn’t good enough to be published. It had two massive rewrites and I’m delighted I persevered. Read everything you can get your hands on in your genre. Hang out with other crime writers. They are incredibly supportive of new writers. Last bit of advice would be get yourself a good editor before approaching publishers.


In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it? 
Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.
Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fetcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?

Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi. 
When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.
On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.
But what does the disappearance of a twelve year old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?
Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?
And are they hunting for one killer or more?
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