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(03/24/2008) The Papers Of Tony Veitch by William McIlvanney. New York. 1983. Pantheon Books. keywords: Mystery Scotland Literature Glasgow. 255 pages. Jacket illustration by Susannah Kelly. 0394424379. May 1983.

The second book in the Laidlaw Scottish mystery series.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Gritty and psychology. 'It was Glasgow on a Friday night, the city of the stare. ' So begins William Mcilvanney's new novel, and at once we are plunged back into the world of that incomparable detective Jack Laidlaw - a world of hard men and harder truths. No truth comes harder to Eck Adamson, vagrant and alcoholic, than that he is dying. To his bed in the Royal Infirmary he summons Laidlaw, perhaps his only friend in the entire city, who reaches him just in time to hear his last desperate words and to receive a cryptic note with three names: Paddy Collins, Lynsey Farren, and the Crib, a local workingman's pub. Few men would have bothered with Eck, an old tramp, whose time had run out - that's the official verdict, anyway. But Jack Laidlaw is a man violently opposed to all 'official' assumptions and rationalizations, both of police work and of the modern state. Convinced that Eck was murdered, Laidlaw follows the only clues he has. For a start, Paddy Collins is part of Glasgow's underworld - or at least was until a few days before, when he was found brutally, and fatally, stabbed. Lynsey Farren? She's Lady Lynsey Farren, beautiful, rich, a rather unlikely patron of the Crib, and one-time girlfriend of a young Glasgow student, Tony Veitch. But Veitch has not been seen for several days, and Miss Farren is unwilling to say anything that might help matters. As Laidlaw relentlessly pursues the investigation, tracing even the wildest and most incongruous leads. Two clear facts emerge: Tont Veitch is the only man who can answer the questions surrounding Eck's death, and Jack Laidlaw is not the only person tracking him down. When LAIDLAW was published by Pantheon in 1977, Ross MacDonald wrote: 'McIlvanney is to be congratulated on his talent and his daring. ' Both readers and critics were overwhelming in their praise of the book, not just as a crime story but as a fine novel in its own right. THE PAPERS OF TONY VEITCH is its direct sequel, an outstanding story of the people who inhabit Glasgow's hard world and the policeman who attempts to live with and understand them.

 

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