As the darker nights creep in, Kristian and I bring you the latest episode of our podcast The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature, where we will be celebrating one of Scotland’s great exports: crime fiction. Kristian and I will be taking a look at Ian Rankin’s Black & Blue, the 8th Rebus thriller, and the novel which broke him – and Rebus – into the mainstream.
There aren’t many people now who haven’t heard of John Rebus, and 2017 sees the 30th anniversary of our introduction to Rankin’s grizzled, maverick detective. Yet despite the early novels being set in the late 80s and 90s, there is a lot in those early Rebus novels, and especially in Black and Blue, that still feels relevant now. But the novels also speak of a Scotland, and a world, undergoing huge social, cultural and technological changes, and it was fascinating to read of settings contemporary to mine and Kristian’s lifetimes, but now regarded as modern history. No Scottish Parliament! No mobile phones! No Google! No digital footprints! Policing too has changed in so many ways.
And for something completely different. We shine a spotlight on our crime writing rising star, Denzil Meyrick, with a reading from his latest short story collection, One Last Dram Before Midnight, released just this month. If you’ve not come across Denzil before, we recommend you get cracking with his DCI Daley series of books, which kicks off with Whisky From Small Glasses. Denzil has written five DCI Daley thrillers now, starring DCI Daley, displaced from the mean streets of Glasgow to uncover the dirty secrets of the idyllic yet post-industrial Campbeltown on Scotland’s west coast.
One Last Dram Before Midnight includes two prequel short stories, and we have a reading from the story ‘Two One Three’, which sees Daley as a new face on the beat in Glasgow facing his first murder investigation.
So, cosy in, have a listen, and enjoy!
Vikki Reilly, October 2017