Val McDermid

(born June 1955 - ) - Kirkcaldy, Fife

Val McDermid

Crime novelist Val McDermid grew up in Kirkcaldy, and spent a lot of her childhood with her grandparents in East Wemyss. At High School she was placed in an experimental high-IQ stream, taught separately from the other children; the Prime Minister Gordon Brown was also part of the programme. Expected to excel in all areas, she was criticised for failing to take part in a school hockey match - instead, she was being interviewed for Oxford University. McDermid was the first female Scottish pupil from a state school to attend St Hilda's College, where she read English.

After University she became a journalist, first working in Devon and later in Glasgow and Manchester. She had been writing since she was aged 21 - her first book, Like A Happy Ending, was adapted for stage and radio but was never published. Her first published novel, Report for Murder, was written in 1984 and published in 1987; it featured lesbian journalist Lindsay Gordon. Four further novels featuring Gordon have been published.

In 1991 McDermid gave up her journalism to write full time, although she still contributes to various national newspapers. Her graphic psychological thrillers and murder mysteries had sometimes proved controversial, and her profile was raised further when her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series of novels was adapted for television with the ITV show The Wire in the Blood. The first novel in the series, The Mermaids Singing, won a CWA Dagger Award for best novel in 1995. In 2010 she was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in recognition of her 20 years of crime writing. Her latest novel is Trick of the Dark.

Val McDermid is openly lesbian and lives with her Civil Partner Kelly Smith, an American publisher. She lives in Alnmouth in Northumberland, and in Manchester, where she shares custody of her son from a previous relationship. A lifelong football fan, she has sponsored a stand at the Raith Rovers football ground in Kirkcaldy.

  • Cover scan of Beneath The Bleeding
    Beneath The Bleeding - Paperback
    When Robbie Bishop, star midfielder for the Bradfield Vics, is poisoned by a rare and deadly toxin. Robbie was adored, so the public want answers - but the answers aren't coming, and trails are running cold. Then a bomb explodes in the football stadium, causing massive casualties - and another man dies from poisoning.
  • Cover scan of Cleanskin
    Cleanskin - Paperback
    Jack Farlowe is a career criminal, but one who has never been convicted of any offence. When his daughter dies in an arson attack, he is broken-hearted. His drowned body is washed up on a Suffolk beach, and everyone believes he has killed himself in grief. But then, one by one, Jack Farlowe's enemies start to die hideous deaths.
  • Cover scan of Common Murder
    Common Murder - Paperback
    Lindsay Gordon is sent to investigate an alleged assault at the Brownlow Common peace camp - it rapidly becomes an investigation into murder when a body is found. Who has killed Rupert Crabtree, Chair of the local opposition to the camp?
  • Cover scan of A Darker Domain
    A Darker Domain - Paperback
    1984, Fife. Heiress Catriona Maclennan Grant and her baby son are kidnapped. The ransom payoff goes horribly wrong. She is killed while her son disappears without trace. 2008, Tuscany. A jogger stumbles upon new evidence that re-opens the cold case. For D.I. Karen Pirie, it's an opportunity to make her mark.
  • Cover scan of The Distant Echo
    The Distant Echo - Paperback
    St. Andrews' medical student Alex Gilbey and his three best friends stumble across the dying body of a young woman and instantly become the chief suspects. 25 years later, the case is reopened and it seems that someone is taking revenge.
  • Cover scan of Fever Of The Bone
    Fever Of The Bone - Paperback
    Meet Tony Hill's most twisted adversary - a killer with a list of victims, a killer unmoved by youth & innocence, a killer driven by the most perverted desires. The murder & mutilation of teenager Jennifer Maidment is horrific enough on its own. But it's not long before Tony realises it's just the start of a brutal campaign.
  • Cover scan of Final Edition
    Final Edition - Paperback
    When Lindsay Gordon returns to Glasgow to make up with her lover, she has some surprises in store. She has partnered up with someone else, her friend Alison has been murdered and her former colleague, Jackie, has been jailed for the crime.
  • Cover scan of The Grave Tattoo
    The Grave Tattoo - Paperback
    When torrential rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, old wives' tales come swirling to the surface. Is this the site of an ancient massacre, as retold in a Wordsworth poem? Jane Gresham follows the leads - but death is hard on her heels, and the mystery can still put lives on the line.
  • Cover scan of Killing The Shadows
    Killing The Shadows - Paperback
    Fiona Cameron, academic psychologist, used to help the police track serial offenders. She vowed never to work again for the Met when they ignored her advice but, when her friend's fellow crime novelist is murdered, she is forced to respond.
  • Cover scan of The Last Temptation
    The Last Temptation - Paperback
    A clinically-efficient killer is murdering psychologists on the continent. Psychological profiler Dr Tony Hill doesn't want to get involved, but an old colleague is targeted by the murderer and Tony cannot remain detached.
  • Cover scan of The Mermaids Singing
    The Mermaids Singing - Paperback
    This is a tense psychological thriller that explores the tormented world of a serial killer. A killer is on the loose in Bradfield, and clinial psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to investigate.
  • Cover scan of A Place Of Execution
    A Place Of Execution - Paperback
    The after effects of an unsolved child murder in 1963 resonate decades later when the investigating officer George Bennett tells a journalist what happened. When he unaccountably pulls the plug the journalist begins to dig up some startling facts.
  • Cover scan of Report For Murder
    Report For Murder - Paperback
    'Report for Murder' was the first British lesbian mystery, in which Lindsay Gordon, left-wing lesbian tabloid journalist, investigates the murder of a public school pupil at a gala fundraising concert.
  • Cover scan of The Retribution
    The Retribution - Hardback
    There is one serial killer who has shaped and defined police profiler Tony Hill's life. One serial killer whose evil surpasses all others. One serial killer who has the power to chill him to the bone: Jacko Vance. And now Jacko is back in Tony's life - even more twisted and cunning than ever before.
  • Cover scan of Stranded
    Stranded - Paperback
    In 'Stranded' McDermid uses the short-story form to probe not only the motivations of the criminal underworld but also the nature of crime itself, all the time playing with crime-writing and pushing the form to its limits.
  • Cover scan of The Torment Of Others
    The Torment Of Others - Paperback
    Clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan face the toughest challenge of their careers when they are confronted with a seemingly impossible series of murders.
  • Cover scan of Trick Of The Dark
    Trick Of The Dark - Paperback
    Determined to protect her daughter from author Jay Macallan Stewart, Corinna turns to clinical psychologist Charlie Flint. But it's not the best time for Charlie. Her career is in ruins. Pilloried by the press and under investigation, she's barred from the profiling work she loves. What Corinna's asking may be her last chance at redemption.
  • Cover scan of Union Jack
    Union Jack - Paperback
    When Lindsay Gordon returns to the UK to do research into the role of women in the trades union movement she has little clue that she will become a murder suspect after a 'friend' falls from her 10th floor window.
  • Cover scan of The Wire In The Blood
    The Wire In The Blood - Paperback
    Young girls are disappearing around the country, and there is nothing to connect them to one another, let alone the killer whose charming manner hides a warped and sick mind. Nobody gets inside the messy heads of serial killers like Dr Tony Hill. Together with Carol Jordan, he investigates.