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Val McDermid


1955 -

Prolific crime writer. Born in Kirkcaldy (Fife), McDermid was educated at Kirkcaldy High School and then read English at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, graduating in 1975. She spent two years training on the Plymouth and South Devon Times, winning a clutch of awards, including Trainee Journalist of the Year (1977). She then spent fourteen years as a journalist, first for the Daily Record in Glasgow and then the Sunday People in Manchester, ending up as Northern Bureau Chief. Having published her first novel, Report for Murder, in 1987, and followed this with two others Common Murder (1989) and Final Edition (1991), she resigned the same year to concentrate on her writing. Her first novels follow the tough lesbian journalist Lindsay Gordon as she solves violent crimes. This was followed by another series beginning with Dead Beat (1992) which tells of female private investigator Kate Brannigan. However, McDermid is perhaps best known for her character Dr. Tony Hill, a clinical psychologist who profiles violent criminals for an English police force. Hill appears in a series of her novels: The Mermaids Singing (1995), The Wire in the Blood (1997), The Last Temptation (2002), The Torment of Others (2004), Beneath the Bleeding (2007) and Fever of the Bone (2009). These form the basis of a television series Wire in the Blood made for ITV between 2002 and 2008. Her other novels include the award-winning A Place of Execution (1999), which also became a three-part drama for ITV, Killing the Shadows (2000), The Distant Echo (2003), The Grave Tattoo (2006), A Darker Domain (2008) and Trick of the Dark (2010). She has also published two collections of short stories.

McDermid now lives in England, but remains a supporter of Raith Rovers Football Club in Kirkcaldy, where there is a stand named in her honour at their stadium - Stark's Park. She served as crime reviewer for the Manchester Evening News for four years, and regularly writes reviews for various national newspapers. She also broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland.


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