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William McIlvanney

© Neil Sinclair

William McIlvanney

William McIlvanney is credited with being the founder of “Tartan Noir,” the school of mystery writing that includes authors such as Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, and Val McDermid, all of whom cite him as an influence and an inspiration. The Laidlaw trilogy changed the face of Scottish fiction. His novel Docherty won the Whitbread Award for Fiction. Laidlaw and The Papers of Tony Veitch both gained Silver Daggers from the Crime Writers’ Association.

All William McIlvanney's books

Latest reviews

  • Crime and Scotland go together, fictionally at least. Set aside J.K. Rowling, and the leading, certainly the most popular, Scottish novelists today are crime-writers, with Ian Rankin and Denise Mina only two of those who show us how nefarious activity permeates society. Most...
    — Jul 24 2015
  • Our book today is William McIlvanney’s Strange Loyalties (not, as the last couple of “Mystery Mondays” might lead you to believe, Strange Loyalties … of the Dead!), the third murder mystery novels to feature Detective Inspector Jack Laidlaw, who stalks the mean streets...
    — Apr 20 2015
  • This third book in the series begins with Jack Laidlaw’s despair and anger at his brother’s death in a banal road accident. His questions as to the dynamics of his bother’s death lead to larger questions about the nature of pain and injustice about meaning of his own life.
    — Apr 6 2015
  • This month in international crime fiction, we travel to the rain-soaked streets of Edinburgh in the 1970s. Europa Editions, through their World Noir imprint, has brought Laidlaw, the first of William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw Investigations across the water for their debut on...
    — Aug 18 2014
  • Europa editions proves their commitment to international crime classics once again by reissuing William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw, the first Scottish noir.
    — Jul 23 2014
  • “[Laidlaw] felt his nature anew as a wrack of paradox. He was potentially a violent man who hated violence, a believer in fidelity who was unfaithful, an active man who longed for understanding. He was tempted to unlock the drawer in his desk where he kept Kierkegaard,...
    — Jun 22 2014
  • Glasgow Detective Inspector Jack Laidlaw, nearly forty, feels his own nature: "as a wrack of paradox. He was potentially a violent man who gated violence, a believer in fidelity who was unfaithful, and active man who longed for understanding. He was tempted to unlock...
    — Jun 17 2014
  • Originally published in 1977, William McIlvanney's Laidlaw, the first book in a trilogy, set a standard for noir mystery. In this reissue, McIlvanney's gruff, broad strokes read as freshly as ever. Glaswegian detective inspector Laidlaw is the quintessential hardened, hard-drinking...
    — Jun 3 2014
  • First published in 1977, this reissue of the stunning first volume of McIllvaney’s Scottish crime trilogy introduces Det. Insp. Jack Laidlaw. The brooding, philosophical Laidlaw is the odd man out in his Glaswegian police cadre, always the one who’s...
    — Apr 28 2014