Tartan Noir: Scottish hardboiled crime fiction

Tartan Noir is a Scottish brand of hardboiled crime fiction. From the late seventies on, Scottish authors took the genre of hardboiled crime fiction pioneered in the United States in the ’20s and ’30s, transported it to Scottish environs and gave it their own dark twist.

Popular Tartan Noir characters include: Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus (these books are mostly set in Edinburgh, and Ian Rankin used some of his favourite haunts in the books), Stuart MacBride’s Sergeant Logan McRae (of Aberdeen), and William McIlvanney’s Glaswegian DI Laidlaw (McIlvanney is considered the ‘Godfather’ of Tartan Noir, and his 1977 novel Laidlaw is often described as the first book in the genre). You’ll even find argument that the genre started much much earlier with Robert Louis Stevenson.

Whatever the reasons, we have to say that this genre seems to mesh very well with the Scottish imagination – there are some great reads here! Here are a few popular titles and authors to get you started with Tartan Noir:

Knots and Crosses, by Ian Rankin Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride Quite ugly one morning, by Christopher Brookmyre The field of blood, by Denise Mina Driftnet, by Lin Anderson Paying for it, by Tony Black

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And if you’d like to read more about Tartan Noir, here are some links for you: