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(03/23/2008) Laidlaw by William McIlvanney. New York. 1977. Pantheon Books. keywords: Mystery Scotland Glasgow. 224 pages. Jacket illustration by Jack Tulling. 0394412532. June 1977.

The first in a series of crime novels set in Glasgow, Scotland featuring the angry and compassionate police detective, Laidlaw. Don't miss this series. The books are much more than crime novels and McIlvanney is a writer of great depth and psychological insight. Mcllvanney's earlier works were set in Glasgow, and he has not abandoned this regional setting in turning to crime. On the contrary, Glasgow itself becomes one of the protagonists of the book.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Laidlaw, the other protagonist, is far from being a classic English police detective. Indeed, the relationship between the police and the criminals, and the alliance they ultimately form to find the villain of the book, seem far more American than British. In its toughness and realism, LAIDLAW is reminiscent of the Sjowall-Wahloo Martin Beck series. Yet Glasgow is a drearier and poorer city than Stockholm, its slums and underworld much more like our own. But while McIlvanney's book can be compared to others, it is very much an original, a promising beginning to a series that will replenish the all-too-thin ranks of really first-rate crime novels.

 

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