His Glasgow gumshoe Laidlaw laid the blueprint for Rebus and co – but William McIlvanney became the forgotten man of tartan noir. Crime novelist Doug Johnstone hails the return of the writer who inspired a generationThe messiah has returned. That’s the rather odd feeling among the Scottish crime-writing community at the moment – because the so-called “godfather of tartan noir” is back after years in the wilderness.In case you don’t realise, I’m speaking about William McIlvanney. McIlvanney hasn’t actually spent years in the wilderness – he’s always been an admired writer in his homeland, though his renown hasn’t spread beyond the borders in quite the way some of us think it should have.McIlvanney isn’t a crime writer per se; he’s also written literary novels, short stories, essays and poetry since the 60s. But he did happen to write three crime novels, starting with Laidlaw in 1977, that acted as a hard-bitten blueprint for all Scottish crime fiction to come, inspiring a generation of writers to take on the genre in his wake.Laidlaw’s eponymous detective is an existentially troubled individual with a strong moral compass and a stronger sense of socialist justice. The Glasgow he stalks is a brutal place, rife …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books