Monday, 20 July 2009

Scottish Publisher Focus - Polygon

Since the nice people at Birlinn/Polygon have sent me their latest catalogue, I thought I would do a post featuring a Scottish publisher, rather than a particular Scottish author. Polygon is the fiction imprint of Birlinn - an independent publisher of Scottish interest books. Here are some of their recently published or soon-to-be published crime fiction offerings - all quotes are from the catalogue or website. You can find out more about all the titles at the website.

CRIMESPOTTING (August 2009) - a short story collection featuring crimes set in Edinburgh. "The results range from hard-boiled police procedural to historical whodunnit and from the wildly comic to the spookily supernatural." Featuring a stellar line-up - some of whom are not crime fiction authors, so this sounds like an interesting one - with stories from Lin Anderson, Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Christopher Brookmyre, John Burnside, Isla Dewar, A L Kennedy, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, James Robertson, and with an introduction by Irvine Welsh.

SHATTERED: STORIES ABOUT THE IMPACT OF CRIME (October 2009) - A different take on crime fiction, with stories illustrating the impact of crime on the victims. "The crimes featured range from fraud and house break-in to domestic abuse, rape and murder." With stories from Lin Anderson, Ray Banks, Christopher Brookmyre, Karen Campbell, Gillian Galbraith, Alex Gray, Allan Guthrie, Stuart MacBride, G J Moffat, Denise Mina and Louise Welsh, with an introduction by Ian Rankin. Royalties from the book will be donated to Victim Support Scotland.

SECRETUM - Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti (August 2009) - set in Rome in 1700. "Atto Melani - once a celebrated castrato soprano, now a spy in the service of King Louis XIV, sets in motion a grandiose conspiracy that plunges him into a world of secret languages, religious sects, forged wills and, ultimately, war in Europe."

BAY OF NAPLES - Alan Clews (June 2009) - "Like many Italians in the early 1930s, Frank Ginesi comes to Scotland looking for work and better prospects. The novel is set around his café in Paisley, The Bay of Naples, which he runs with his wife, Gina. Frank takes pity on a down-and-out drifter, Ian Miller, and employs him in the café." I'm not 100% sure that this is crime fiction, but doesn't that description sound like The Postman Always Rings Twice? I'm definitely going to hunt this one down.

THE FENG SHUI DETECTIVE'S CASEBOOK - Nury Vittachi (May 2009) - "A murder in the Philippines, a kidnapping in Thailand, grand theft auto in Singapore; it’s just another day at the office for CF Wong and his slacker assistant Joyce. More feng shui master than detective, Wong would much rather get paid, go home and put his feet up, but that’s just not going to happen."

WHITE DEATH - Ken McClure (June 2009) - seventh novel in the Dr Steven Dunbar series. "The Governments of the world know a terrorist biological attack will happen sooner rather than later. Vaccination is the only solution, but there is no such thing as a 'completely safe vaccine".

BLOODY WOMEN - Helen FitzGerald (October 2009) - "Returning to Scotland to organise her wedding, Catriona is overcome with the jitters. She decides to tie up loose ends before settling permanently in Tuscany, and seeks out her ex-boyfriends. Only problem is, they're all dead." Me want.

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT - David Ashton (October 2009) - the third in the McLevy series sees the Victorian detective team up with Arthur Conan Doyle. "It is 1860 and a Confederate officer, Jonathen Sinclair, arrives in Edinburgh with a sheaf of money to purchase a blockade-runner from Clydeside shipbuilders. He is betrayed to the Union forces and is shot dead by their secret agents. Who are they and where is Sinclair's money?"

HUE AND CRY - Shirley McKay (June 2009) - A historical crime novel set in sixteenth century St Andrews. "Hew Cullan, a young lawyer recently returned home from Paris, uncovers a complex tale of passion and duplicity, of sexual desire and tension within the repressive atmosphere of the Protestant Kirk and the austerity of the academic cloister."

DYING OF THE LIGHT - Gillian Galbraith (April 2009) Third in the series featuring DS Alice Rice. "Midwinter, a freezing night in Leith, near Edinburgh’s red light district. A policewoman’s flashlight stabs the darkness in a snow-covered cemetery. The circle of light stops on a colourless, dead face...Partly inspired by the real-life killings of prostitutes in Ipswich, this novel explores a hidden world where sex is bartered for money and drugs."

SLAMMER - Allan Guthrie (March 2009) - "Young prison officer Nicholas Glass is finding the stresses of the job increasingly hard to handle. Bullied and abused by inmates and colleagues alike, every day is getting longer than the one before. When a group of cons use outside help to threaten his wife and daughter, Glass agrees to help them out with a ’favour’." Brilliant stuff.

BEAST OF BURDEN - Ray Banks (March 2009) - "The biggest race riot in Manchester’s history and his brother’s death have left PI Callum Innes a physical and emotional wreck, when the word comes through that his erstwhile nemesis Mo Tiernan has gone missing. Innes is the only one Mo’s ganglord father trusts to investigate, but he’s not the only one working the case – Detective Sergeant ‘Donkey’ Donkin has a vested interest in both the Tiernans and Innes, and he’d sacrifice his career to see them both behind bars." Also brilliant stuff.

DEAD WOOD - Chris Longmuir (June 2009) "In a grim Dundee of urban decay and criminal deprivation what happens when the cold, calculating world of gangland retribution collides with the psychosis of a serial killer? Kara has a debt to gangster Tony and takes to the streets to earn the cash. On a job she encounters several dead bodies dumped in the woods just outside the city. Terrified, she escapes, making an anonymous phone call to the police. An investigation led by newcomer DC Louise Walker begins, but she is not the only one determined to catch the serial killer."

THE FREE FISHERS - John Buchan (August 2009) - "When Anthony Lammas, minister of the Kirk and Professor of Logic at St Andrews University, leaves his home town for London on business, he little imagines that within two days he will be deeply entangled in a web of mystery and intrigue. But he's no ordinary professor. His boyhood allegiance to a brotherhood of deep-sea fishermen is to involve him and handsome ex-pupil, Lord Belses, with a beautiful but dangerous woman. Set in the bleak Yorkshire hamlet of Hungrygrain during the Napoleonic Wars, this is a stirring tale of treason and romance."


  1. Can thoroughly recommend Dead Wood. It won the recent Dundee Int Book Prize. Excellent stuff!

  2. Thanks Michael great to know it's recommended - it certainly looks good - I do enjoy a nice bit of urban decay and criminal deprivation :o)