The Laidlaw books are widely considered to be among the greatest achievements of Scottish crime writing and the founding novels of what has since become known as the school of Tartan Noir, which includes authors like Val McDermid, Denise Mina, and Iain Rankin. This third book in the series begins with the death of Jack Laidlaw’s brother in a banal road accident. His questions about the circumstances surrounding his bother’s death lead to larger questions about the nature of pain and injustice, and the meaning of his own life. Laidlaw is determined to learn more about Scott Laidlaw’s death. His investigations will lead to a confrontation with his own past and a harrowing journey into the dark Glasgow underworld.
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.