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Five great books set in Glasgow

27th May 2019

Glasgow is the latest destination in our ‘Great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in Glasgow.

Five great books set in Glasgow

Here are five books that will transport you to this fine Scottish city, whether you’re travelling to Glasgow physically, or from your favourite comfy chair at home.

The Glasgow accent was so strong you could have built a bridge with it and known it would outlast the civilization that spawned it’ – Val McDermid.

1. Games People Play by Owen Mullen

On a warm summer’s evening thirteen month old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland, taken while her parents are yards away. Three days later, the distraught father turns up at Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron’s office and begs him to help. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgement Charlie gets involved in a case he would be better off without. But when a child’s body is discovered on Fenwick Moor, then another in St Andrews, the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer out there whose work has gone undetected for decades. Baby Lily may be the latest victim of a madman.

For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go. His demons won’t let him.

The stunning first novel featuring Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron. Games People Play will have the reader guessing to the very last page.

2. Witness the Dead by Craig Robertson

Scotland 1972. Glasgow is haunted by a murderer nicknamed Red Silk – a feared serial killer who selects his victims in the city’s nightclubs. The case remains unsolved but Archibald Atto, later imprisoned for other murders, is thought to be Red Silk.

In modern-day Glasgow, DS Rachel Narey is called to a gruesome crime scene at the city’s Necropolis. The body of a young woman lies stretched out over a tomb. Her body bears a three-letter message from her killer.

Now retired, former detective Danny Neilson spots a link between the new murder and those he investigated in 1972 – details that no copycat killer could have known about. But Atto is still behind bars. Must Danny face up to his fears that they never caught their man? Determined finally to crack the case, Danny, along with his nephew, police photographer Tony Winter, pays Atto a visit. But they soon discover that they are going to need the combined efforts of police forces past and present to bring a twisted killer to justice.

3. Morbid Relations by Jonathan Whitelaw

Robert Argyll is a failing stand up comedian. To make matters worse, he drinks too much, can’t hold down a relationship and is going nowhere fast.

When he gets the news of his mother’s death, he reluctantly makes the journey home to Glasgow, to be with his estranged family.

Battling the eclectic bunch of misfits, do-gooders and general nuisances with his usual sarcasm and wit, Robert is faced with a heartbreaking decision as he tries to keep what remains of his family together.

4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

5. The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh

The Dark Side of Glasgow lies behind this black, erotic thriller. Homosexual antique dealer Rilke is commissioned to sell at auction the entire contents of a deceased old man’s estate. What seems a straightforward deal turns suspicious upon the discovery of a hidden collection of erotica, secreted away in a loft.

The chance unearthing of a packet of disturbing photographs sets Rilke on a trail through Glasgow’s pornography industry in search of answers. Transvestites, rent boys, sadists and the generally sexually perverted all make an appearance, the possibility of snuff activities dangling over the story till the finale. Deceit, double-dealing and degradation fill the pages with the self-effacing, downward spiralling Rilke at the centre, trying to cling to reality and his sanity through a drunken haze induced by the horrors he has found. Homoerotic, this is not a book for the sexually squeamish.

Andrew for the TripFiction Team

Which titles would you add to the list? Remember there are many to choose from in the Glasgow listings on TripFiction…! Each will transport you to some excellent fiction, travelogues or memoirs set in this fascinating city. Or you may have your own favourites you would like to add. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below.

Other UK and Ireland city posts in our ‘Five/ten great books set in…’ series include:

Five great books set in Edinburgh

Five great books set in Dublin

Ten great books set in London

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