Episode 1: Rock Bottom

Charles E McGarry has spent years trying to get his debut crime novel published. Finally, he found an agent – only to lose him within 48 hours.
How did he get here? And what does he do now?

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Episode 1


Episode 4: Location, Location, Location

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‘It’s the kind of lake you could see a hand reaching out of…’

Charlie McGarry

I follow the path of Charlie’s detective, Leo Moran, out of Glasgow and into the beautiful West Highlands of Scotland, on, it turns out, the Hogwarts Express. Kind of.


We’re not in Glasgow anymore.

At Loch Awe, the inspiration for Loch Dhonn in The Ghost of Helen Addison, Charlie takes us to some of the locations he used in the novel. On the way, I learn a surprising amount about rhododendron.

Episode 4

Episode 5: Christopher Brookmyre

‘The first review I ever got was also one of the worst – they said it was thoroughly unpleasant and horribly nasty’

Chris Brookmyre

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Don’t feel too bad for Christopher Brookmyre – since that eviscerating review of his 1997 debut, Quite Ugly One Morning, he has acquired a huge audience for novels that combine classic thriller tropes with social commentary and dark humour.

Chris and Charlie talked about their shared experience working for newspapers, the benefit of getting out on the road and meeting your readers, and of course Chris’s own experience of being a debut crime writer.

Chris spoke to Charlie when he had just about finished promoting his brilliant new book, Want You Gone.

Episode 5

Episode 6: Val McDermid

‘Murders are not solved the way we write about them in our books. But I try to be authentic were authenticity is possible’

Val McDermid

Charlie and Val

Charlie met ValĀ at the National Library of Scotland, in Edinburgh, about 30 years after she had been where he is now, awaiting the publication of a debut crime novel.

They talked about Val’s first steps on her journey to over 10m global sales, keeping it real in detective fiction, why Charlie really should get an agent and loads more.

Val’s latest novel, Insidious Intent, featuring Carol Jordan and Tony Hill, is out on August 24.

Episode 6