Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wanted: Gang of Five Scoundrels Targets The McIlvanney Prize

Scottish authorities have this morning named a gang of criminal scoundrels suspected of engaging in a conspiracy to steal the priceless McIlvanney Prize from Stirling Castle.

Sources say that investigations have been ongoing in recent months, after undercover operatives discovered Scotland's criminal underworld were gathering in order to facilitate the heist. With lots of rumours and innuendo flying, authorities have had to painstakingly narrow down a large field of initial suspects to uncover the likely culprits. Today, it has been revealed that Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Craig Robertson, Craig Russell, and Jay Stringer are the felons wanted for further questioning.

While a prime suspect has yet to be named, independent investigators Susan Calman, Lee Randall (chief of detectives), and Craig Sisterson (seconded from abroad) shared some of their thoughts.

Long-time Scottish crime boss McDermid, who is known to have pilfered many prizes around the world in the past, has put herself firmly in the frame thanks to Out of Bounds
"The Queen of Scottish crime adds yet more jewels to her crown with Out of Bounds and shows us why she’s writing at the very top of her game… Karen Pirie is one of the most engaging and charismatic of all the fictional Scottish Detectives."

The dangerous Mina was nicked as a youngster for snaffling a CWA Dagger, and more recently had the audacity to hit the same target, Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year, two years in a row:
"This elegantly written novel confirms Denise Mina’s stature among the great Scottish crime writers… The Long Drop transports you to the pubs, grubby back alleys and courtrooms at the heart of this unsavoury chapter of Scottish history"

Suspicion has also fallen on Robertson, one of the founders of the Bloody Scotland festival, who is a Stirling local and may have inside knowledge on the Castle's layout and security: 
"An intriguing premise in a contemporary setting which tiptoes along the darker edges of crime fiction with an unusual detective at its heart… Murderabilia is a terrific addition to this inventive series."

Russell, who has connections to both the Scottish and German criminal underworlds, snaffled the McIlvanney Prize in 2015, and authorities are concerned he's lining up a repeat heist: 
"The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid is an assured riff on a classic noir caper which reveals Glasgow in all its gritty and compelling glory… The writing is as stylish as Lennox’s bespoke suits"

While the other suspects may have a longer criminal pedigree, the investigators urged people not to overlook Stringer, who has burst onto the scene with a distinct brand of criminal enterprise:
"This unexpected and explosive novel proves that Jay Stringer has reached the major league of Scottish crime fiction… The prose in How to Kill Friends and Implicate People crackles like a roaring campfire and you find yourself rooting for the unlikeliest of heroes"

Authorities expect one of these suspects to turn on their fellow thieves and make a solo grab for the McIlvanney Prize at Stirling Castle between 6.30pm and 8pm on Friday, 8 September.

You can view the full programme for the Bloody Scotland Festival here.

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