LAIDLAW by William McIlvanney


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Auspicious is the word for this Scottish poet-novelist's debut as a police-procedural craftsman. Laidlaw's the detective--abrasive, literate, angrily compassionate--and his turf is Glasgow, any town's rival for drear-dankness, enervated poverty, and slick newness layered on decaying oldness. A girl's been abused and murdered, and Laidlaw had better find the culprit--a sexually confused adolescent--before the victim's father or a bookie biggie (afraid of what the fugitive might spill about his crooked set-up) lay hands on him. Notwithstanding an excess of metaphor (Laidlaw talks of people spending their ""lives doing a Cook's Tour of their own reality""), McIlvanney's mix of just enough dialect, just enough pathos, and just-right pacing puts him immediately in a class with the Marrics, McBains, and Scandinavians who turn streets into cityscapes and uniforms into people.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1977
ISBN: 015648109X
Publisher: Pantheon