Fife author Claire has write stuff for crime fiction

Claire MacLeary. Picture: Comp
Claire MacLeary. Picture: Comp

A Fife author is launching her first book at an event in St Andrews.

Crime writer Claire MacLeary, of Ceres, is set to launch the book after five years of work to see it in print.

Her debut work, Cross Purpose, is the first in what she hopes will be a series, following two Scottish detectives for hire.

Claire has led a storied life herself, previously working in TV, newspapers, HR, and fronting a number of shops in St Andrews.

And with such a varied career, it was bound to be only a matter of time before she turned her hand to writing too.

“I’ve always wanted to write,” Claire said. “But I was sidelined by kids,” she laughed.

“After my children went to senior school, it was then that I found I had the time.

“I attended a part-time writing class at the University of St Andrews.

“Latterly I continued at Dundee, which reawakened my drive to write.”

Cross Purpose follows Maggie Laird, whose disgraced ex-cop husband suddenly dies.

With the bills mounting, she takes on his struggling detective agency, enlisting the help of her neighbour Big Wilma Harcus, and they find themselves investigating a body.

The pair are drawn into an unknown world of sink estates, clandestine childminding and dodgy dealers.

The story is the culmination of five years’ work, which saw it go through various edits for fine-tuning.

“The path from page to publication is a long one,” she said.

And while the book largely takes place in Aberdeen, Claire says that there is a nod to Fife in the story.

She says that the Kingdom, with its contrasts, can provide ample inspiration in what is known as Tartan Noir – the popular term for Scottish crime fiction.

“It lends itself well to crime fiction, as it features society’s best and worst,” she said.

“It has the extremes of society, from the Old Course at St Andrews, to the social deprivation of some sink estates.

“The fact that Scotland hosts events like Bloody Scotland – the crime fiction festival – shows just how successful the genre is. Crime fiction is mainly read by women. Something like 68% of its readers are female.”

Claire is already working on the next book, titled Burnout, and hopes more will follow.

“I’ve no specific plans to write a certain number of books in the series, although I’m aiming to produce about one per year.

“But I’ll continue as long as Harcus and Laird have breath,” she adds.

Cross Purpose will be launched at the St Andrews branch of Waterstones on March 9.