Polygon announces three-book deal and rights sales for Douglas Skelton

  25 Nov '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Limited, is delighted to announce the signing of a three-book deal with crime writer Douglas Skelton. The trio continues Skelton’s enthralling Rebecca Connolly series, contemporary crime novels set in Inverness and the Scottish Highlands. Connolly is a tumultuous young reporter investigating crimes and characters in a world where the dark and atmospheric past lives on.

Polygon has purchased World All Language volume rights, as well as e-book and audio rights, from Jo Bell at the Bell Lomax Moreton Agency.

The series began in 2019 with Thunder Bay, which was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize. Two more volumes, The Blood is Still and A Rattle of Bones, followed in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Polygon will publish the fourth in the series, Where Demons Hide, in July 2022. The new deal will bring the series to seven, with publication from 2023 onwards.

Based in the West of Scotland, Skelton is the author of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction and a mainstay of the Scottish crime-writing scene. His work as a newspaper editor and as an investigator informs the novels’ razor-sharp characterisation and the social and political issues surrounding his plots.

Skelton says:

I am delighted to have been given the chance to continue Rebecca’s story with Polygon. It’s exciting to see Rebecca’s world expanding along with the ensemble characters Elspeth, Chaz, Alan and DCI Roach. Polygon has shown great commitment to this series and also seeing it extend to other territories throughout the world has been tremendously exciting.

Skelton is fast building a huge international reputation through the success of the series. Rights have been sold to Arcade in the US, Gema in Greece, and Gyldendal Cicero in Denmark. Dumont, who have bought the first three books in Germany, say:

What makes Douglas Skelton’s series so special is its tangible atmosphere. The historical background combined with the evocation of different legends and superstitions gives you a great feeling for the setting – the fascinating highlands. The characters are authentic and lovable, the stories address political and social issues, all the while the suspense rises unceasingly. A perfect mixture!

The first three volumes of the series are available in audio from Isis. Audio and international rights are represented by Fiona Brownlee of Brownlee Donald.


1. Polygon Books is an imprint of Birlinn Limited, Scotland’s largest independent publisher. It publishes literary fiction, crime fiction, poetry, and books on popular culture from award-winning writers such as Liz Lochhead, Norman MacCaig, Jenni Fagan, Denzil Meyrick, Stuart Cosgrove, and the author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith. Polygon was originally established by students of Edinburgh University, including a young Gordon Brown, in the late 1960s. It became part of Birlinn Limited in 2002.

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