Friday, 19 December 2014


A new BBC ALBA programme is to follow the path taken by the central character in one of the most popular series of crime novels of recent years.
Peter Guttridge, Ali Karim, Peter May, Marcel Berlins & Barry Forshaw
 Sàr-Sgèoil examines Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy in an hour long programme presented by Cathy MacDonald.

 The first novel in the series, The Blackhouse, has made the austere landscape of Lewis familiar to an international audience of crime-fiction fans.  The widely translated book has won awards in France, the United States of America and China.  Its follow-up, The Lewis Man, topped the UK hardback bestseller list for 18 weeks and including the third and final instalment, The Chessmen, the trilogy has sold more than one million copies.

 The programme sees Cathy travels in the footsteps of Detective Fin MacLeod, the central character of the books.  Her travels take her from her native Lewis to Eriskay in the south. En route, she visits the dramatic locations and meets the real life characters who inspired Peter May in his writing of The Lewis Trilogy. 
 In Ness, Cathy visits the boat shed that inspired the gruesome opening scene of The Blackhouse. It was here that Angel MacRitchie’s body was discovered. Once there, Cathy meets guga hunter Dods MacFarlane, whose personality and stories inspired the character of Gigs MacAulay. MacAulay is described by May in the book: “Physically he was not a big man but he was a huge presence… he had been out to the rock more often than anyone else on the team.” 

 It was during a conversation with Dods and his fellow guga hunters that Peter developed the storyline for some of the key scenes in The Blackhouse.  Through this meeting, Lewis and the ‘guga isle’ of Sula Sgeir are now as familiar to crime fans around the world as the bleak Sweden of Wallander or the Denmark of The Killing.

 In Stornoway, Cathy calls in on Stornoway police station where she conducts an interview with local policeman George Murray, who is more used to being the interviewer than the interviewee.  George inspired Peter May in his creation of the character DS Gunn, who appears in all three novels as sidekick to Fin MacLeod.  The real life George noted his resemblance to the fictional George immediately and thought, “Oh good grief, I hope that’s not me!”

 From there, Cathy makes her way to South Uist and Eriskay where the second novel in the trilogy is partly set.  While there, she travels in style in Mary Alex Kirkpatrick’s distinctive pink sports car.   She ascertains whether Mary Alex’s driving bears any resemblance to that of character Morag’s - did she “crunch the car into first gear” and “kangaroo towards the gate, narrowly missing the gate posts”?   Back at the house, Cathy and Mary Alex sit in the lounge in which the second novel’s dramatic and bloody dénouement occurs.   

 Cathy also meets author Peter May – creator of pioneering Gaelic TV drama series Machair. He explains that his years of working on the soap gave him a wide knowledge of the Lewis landscape, people and culture.  He now lives in France, but says the memory of Lewis never left him and inspired his acclaimed trilogy.

 Sàr-Sgèoil: Lewis Trilogy, produced by Caledonia TV for BBC ALBA, will be shown on Tuesday 23 December from 9.00 until 10.00pm.

BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:
·         Sky 143 (UK)
·         Freeview / You View 8 (Scotland only)
·         Virgin Media 161 (UK)
·         Freesat 110 (UK)
·         BT Vision 8 (Scotland only)
·         Smallworld 170 (Ayrshire and North West England)
·         BBC iPlayer

Look back on SHOTS' coverage for Peter May

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Peter James wins e-Book of the year 2014

·Popular British crime and thriller writer, author of the first ever eBook, wins public vote
·Tenth book in bestselling Roy Grace™ series picks up eBooks by Sainsbury’s award
·Peter James pips Dani Atkins and Robert Galbraith to the post

Peter James’ gripping psychological thriller Want You Dead has been crowned eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year 2014. The bestselling author emerged victorious following a month-long national competition to uncover the UK’s favourite digital read.

In its second year, the eBook of the Year award is designed to let readers decide their stand-out “screen turner” of the year - the eBook that has kept them glued to their eReaders. The public was given a longlist of over 150 titles to choose from, spanning a range of genres; from biographies to women’s fiction and thrillers to non-fiction; and eBooks by Sainsbury’s has spent the last month collecting the votes.

Author of Want You Dead, Peter James, also authored the world’s first eBook. The gripping thriller saw off esteemed literary talent in the shape of The Story of Us by Dani Atkins, Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm, Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch and Lee Child’s Personal to win the prize.
The tenth novel in Peter James’s Brighton-based detective series, which has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, is a transfixing and harrowing tale recounting how a promising online romance turns sour. For the protagonist, Red Westwood, infatuation becomes terror as she begins to see an increasingly darker side to the man she has let into her life. It becomes evident that he is not only obsessed with her, but determined to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved. 

Peter James said: “I’m really thrilled to have won this award from such a brilliant retailer. Over the past few years Sainsbury’s has established their books division as a major platform of the book trade. It means a very great deal to me to have won this highly prestigious award, and I believe that the support of Sainsbury’s is an invaluable endorsement of the importance of books and reading to us all.”

More information Peter James and his books can be found on his website.  You can also follow him on Twitter @peterjamesuk or find him on Facebook.

Monday, 15 December 2014



Vintage is delighted to announce it is bringing back into print golden age crime writer Margery Allingham’s complete series of Mr Campion books, beginning this December with an exclusive Waterstones edition of the first in the series, The Crime at Black Dudley.

Joseph Knobbs, Crime Buyer at Waterstones, says: 'We are thrilled to have Allingham's first Mr Campion mystery back in print, exclusively for Christmas.  Our customers love a good mystery - and it's always a treat to find something from crime fiction's golden age that we can bring to a new generation.'

A queen of the golden age of crime writing, Agatha Christie called Margery Allingham ‘a shining light’ of the genre, and in an event at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival this year J.K. Rowling declared that Allingham was her favourite golden age crime writer, and Mr Campion novel Tiger in the Smoke her particular favourite.  Vintage will publish a new edition of The Tiger in the Smoke in May 2015 with an introduction by bestselling crime writer Susan Hill, and over the next two years will publish twenty Mr Campion books in a bold new series look.

Alongside Margery Allingham, the Vintage Murder Mysteries list is proud to publish a host of classic crime writers including Gladys Mitchell, Nicholas Blake and Edmund Crispin. 

Notes for editors

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham exclusive Waterstones edition is available now, published by Vintage price £8.99.

Publication dates for the new Margery Allingham titles are as follows:

The Crime At Black  Dudley (exclusive to Waterstones)

MAY 2015:
The Tiger In The Smoke (with a new introduction by Susan Hill)
The Crime at Black Dudley (general edition)
Dancers in Mourning
Death of A Ghost
Look To The Lady

Mystery Mile
Police at the Funeral
Sweet Danger

Flowers For The Judge
The Case Of The Late Pig
Mr Campion & Others

Coroner’s Pidgin
The Fashion in Shrouds
The Traitor’s Purse

MAY 2016:
Hide My Eye
The Beckoning Lady
More Work for the Undertaker

AUGUST 2016:
Cargo of Eagles
The China Governess
The Mind Readers

The Vintage Murder Mysteries logo, featuring on all titles, is the distinctive emblem of the Death’s Head Hawkmoth which has for centuries been a bringer of doom and an omen of death. The perfect companion then, for the Vintage Murder Mysteries sleuths, for whom sinister occurrences are never far away and murder is always just around the corner.

For further information please contact Bethan Jones on 0207 840 8543 or

Bethan Jones
Publicity Director, Harvill Secker and Yellow Jersey Press
Penguin Random House

20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA
0207 840 8543 / 07500120270