Laidlaw (novel)

Laidlaw is the first novel of a series of crime books by William McIlvanney, first published in 1977.[1] It features the eponymous detective in his attempts to find the brutal sex related murderer of a Glasgow teenager. Laidlaw is marked by his unconventional methods in tracking the killer, immersing himself in a 1970s Glasgow featuring violence and bigotry.

AuthorWilliam McIlvanney
SeriesLaidlaw #1
Genrecrime fiction
PublisherHodder and Stoughton
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
LC ClassPZ4.M1498 Lai PR6063.A237
Followed byThe Papers of Tony Veitch 

When Laidlaw was released in 1977, McIlvanney was known for recently winning the Whitbread Prize with his historical family novel, Docherty, and as a complete departure from that genre and surprised many of his readers.[2]

This novel is considered the first 'Tartan Noir' and is cited as being inspiration for the Rebus novels by Ian Rankin.[3] Alan Massie wrote that "Hemingway used to say that all American literature came out of Huckleberry Finn; all Scottish crime writing — ‘tartan noir’ — comes out of Laidlaw."[2]


  1. Dickson, Beth. "William McIlvanney's Laidlaw Novels". The Association for Scottish Literary Studies. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  2. Massie, Alan (6 July 2013). "Laidlaw by William McIlvanney - review". The Spectator. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  3. Johnstone, Doug (11 August 2013). "How William McIlvanney invented tartan noir". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
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