Ian Rankin has had a street named after him but fellow Fife crime writer Val McDermid has gone one better than that...she’s got a morgue.
The critically acclaimed and bestselling author from Kirkcaldy now has the honour of having a world-class mortuary at the University of Dundee named after her.
Val was one of a group of leading crime writers who lent their support to the University’s `Million for a Morgue’ campaign, headed by pathologist Professor Sue Black
The public were asked to not only donate money to the campaign but to vote for which of the writers they would like the morgue to be named after - and Val emerged the winner.
She said, “This is a very proud moment for me.
“I’ve known and admired Sue Black for nearly 20 years and it’s a privilege to be associated with her and her department in this pioneering venture.
“The work that’s being done in this mortuary and the knowledge it will communicate means better life chances for all of us.
“For once, we crime writers have had a chance to put life ahead of death and I’m thrilled to have been part of it.
“Million for a Morgue was a mad idea, but it’s borne more fruit than any of us could imagine. A huge thanks to everyone who put their hands in their pockets to support the campaign.”
The university has also named a dissecting room in the new morgue after another of the writers, Stuart MacBride, author of the acclaimed Logan McRae novels.
Professor Sue Black heads the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), where the new morgue has been built.
She said, “The Million for a Morgue campaign has been a tremendous adventure for all of us and I am inordinately grateful to all of the authors who graciously gave of their time and their reputations to support Dundee.
“Val is a great friend to the Centre and the work we do and so I am truly delighted that the mortuary will be named after her.”
The campaign was launched to help build the first morgue in the country to use the Thiel method of embalming, bringing significant boosts to medical research and training in the UK.
The Thiel method gives surgeons, dentists, scientists and researchers a more realistic method of testing techniques, practising procedures and developing new equipment and approaches.
“We are the first university in the UK to use Thiel embalming exclusively and it’s an area where, working together with other colleagues in the University, we are can make significant breakthroughs and change the face of scientific, medical and dental research and training,” said Professor Black.
CAHID is one of the world’s foremost institutions for the study and application of human anatomy, forensic human identification, disaster victim identification and forensic and medical art. It was awarded a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education this year in recognition of its `world class excellence’.
Professor Black and other members of the CAHID team featured in the major BBC2 series `History Cold Case’. The CAHID team have developed ground breaking techniques in areas such as hand identification, which has directly led to the successful prosecution of a number of paedophiles identified from images of their hands found in obscene photographs and films.