2021 Preview: Crime Writing from Polygon

  19 Jan '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

At Polygon we are proud to publish a wide range of crime writing from bestselling authors and exciting new voices. Our 2021 line-up includes top-notch crime fiction, gripping true crime, and a new telling of one of the most infamous murders in Scottish history.

From Denzil Meyrick in 2021

No run-of-the-mill tartan noir

Copyright Kirsty Anderson

Denzil Meyrick leads off our programme of crime writing for 2021. Denzil had a stellar 2020 and we promise 2021 has even more excitement in store. The bestselling Scottish crime writer published by a Scottish press, his million-selling DCI Daley series, set in Argyll, is a global bestseller in print, ebook, and audio. His latest novel Jeremiah’s Bell was CultureNL’s Book of the Year 2020 and was announced as the most-borrowed book from Aberdeenshire libraries. A Large Measure of Snow, the first Tale from Kinloch, delighted readers with its imagination and cracking humour.

In 2021, there’s much more coming from this master of crime. For Any Other Truth, the ninth Daley novel, is coming in June. When a light aircraft crash-lands at Machrie airport, it quickly becomes apparent to Jim Daley and Brian Scott that its occupants were dead before take-off. Their investigation criss-crosses the North Channel from Kinloch to County Antrim in a twisting struggle to sort good from bad, right from wrong.

But that’s not all! There will be two further treats for fans of Denzil’s writing coming in the second half of the year – expect great characters, snappy dialogue, and propulsive stories. Be on the look out for further announcements!

Hasta la Vista: Escape to Spain with Morgan Cry

A complex and immersive thrill-ride through a wild expat Costa del Crime community

Denise Mina

Just about the only Mediterranean sunshine any of us enjoyed last year came from Morgan Cry’s first novel, Thirty-One Bones. Gordon Brown, who’s the seasoned crime writer behind the pseudonym, is back with a new sun-soaked thriller this summer.

In Six Wounds, Daniella Coulstoun returns, plunged headlong into a morass of gang politics and police corruption on Spain’s Costa Blanca. This is a perfect summer read for crime fans, with a colourful cast of double-crossing characters and dysfunctional expats.

It’s coming in July, so there plenty of time to up those vitamin-D levels by catching up now.

Feel past and present collide in A Rattle of Bones

“If you don’t know Skelton, now’s the time”

Ian Rankin

Rebecca Connolly, Douglas Skelton’s intrepid Highland reporter, returns! Set against the stunning backdrop of Scotland’s western lochs and mountains, A Rattle of Bones is a tale of injustice and mystery, and the echo of the past in the present.

In 1752, Seamus a’Ghlynne, James of the Glen, was executed for the murder of government man Colin Campbell. He was almost certainly innocent of what came to be known as ‘the Appin Murder’. When banners are placed at his gravesite claiming that Seamus’ namesake, James Stewart, is innocent of murder, Rebecca smells a story. the younger Stuart has been in prison for 10 years for the brutal murder of his lover, lawyer and politician Murdo Maxwell. As Rebecca investigates, she discovers spokes of the story radiating out across Scotland as crimes old and new drive her quest for justice.

Coming in August, this is a perfect summer-holiday read. The writing is crisp, the characters finely drawn, and Skelton’s real-life investigative experience makes it perfectly paced and utterly convincing. Prepare to be rattled!

True Crime: The Strange Affair of Madeleine Smith

It was a case that rocked Victorian society. Emile L’Angelier was a working-class immigrant from the Channel Islands who began a clandestine affair with prominent Glasgow socialite Madeleine Smith. Six weeks after Emile threatened to show Madeleine’s father their passionate letters, on 23 March 1857, he was found dead from arsenic poisoning. The evidence against Madeleine seemed overwhelming as she went to trial for murdering her lover. Douglas MacGowan’s vivid account of the case reads by turns like a thriller, a love story and a courtroom drama. He presents contemporary sources, notably the pathology reports, the trial testimony and the infamous correspondence between Madeleine and Emile, whose explicit content so shocked Victorian sensibilities. Ultimately it is up to the reader to judge Madeleine’s guilt or innocence. A must for true crime aficionados, Victoriana enthusiasts, and anyone with a love of legal history or just great mysteries, The Strange Affair of Madeline Smith is out this autumn.

One of Scottish history’s bloodiest murders retold

Denise Mina is the cream of the crop, an author who pushes the crime novel in new and exciting directions

Ian Rankin

One of Scottish history’s bloodiest murders told by one of Scotland’s most provocative modern writers is coming this September. Multi-award-winning Denise Mina brings us Rizzioa radical retelling of one of the darkest episodes in Scottish and European history. David Rizzio, private secretary of Mary Queen of Scots, was brutally murdered on the evening of 9 March 1566. Dragged from the bed-chamber of the heavily pregnant Queen, Rizzio was stabbed 56 times by an 80-strong party of assassins. You will read this in one sitting. The power and pace of the writing won’t allow you to do anything else.

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