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Val McDermid – Lioness at Large

Val McDermid

(* 1955)

Val McDermidBiographical Sketch

Val McDermid (born Kircaldy, Scotland, June 4, 1955) is a Scottish crime writer, best known for a series of suspense novels starring her most famous creation, Dr. Tony Hill.

McDermid’s notable characters are a lesbian journalist, Lindsay Gordon; a private investigator, Kate Brannigan; and a psychologist, Tony Hill, who suffers from sexual dysfunction. Her books mainly fall into three series: Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan, and, beginning in 1995, the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, the first entry in which, The Mermaids Singing, won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year. The Hill/Jordan series has been adapted for television under the name Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green. Val McDermid has stated that Vance, a TV celebrity with a secret lust for torture, murder and under-age girls who featured in The Wire in the Blood and two later books, is based on her direct personal experience of interviewing Jimmy Savile, the English DJ who was the first and last presenter of the long-running BBC music chart show Top of the Pops, but about whom after his 2011 death hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse and rape became public, leading the police to believe that Savile may have been one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Read more about Val McDermid on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Dagger Awards
(CWA – Crime Writers’ Association, Great Britain)
  • 1995: Gold Dagger – “The Mermaids Singing”
  • 2010: Diamond Dagger – Lifetime Achievement Award
ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards
  • 2009: International Crime Writing Hall of Fame
Anthony Awards (World Mystery Convention)
  • 2001: Best Novel – “A Place of Execution”
Macavity Awards
(Mystery Readers International)
  • 2001: Best Mystery Novel – “A Place of Execution”
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
  • 2000: Best Mystery/Thriller – “A Place of Execution”
Lambda Literary Awards (USA)
  • 2011: Best Lesbian Mystery – “Fever of the Bone”



Kate Brannigan
  • Dead Beat (1992)
  • Kick Back (1993)
  • Crack Down (1994)
  • Clean Break (1995)
  • Blue Genes (1996)
  • Star Struck (1998)
Lindsay Gordon
  • Report for Murder (1987)
  • Common Murder (1989)
  • Final Edition (1991)
    A/K/A: Deadline for Murder; Open and Shut
  • Union Jack (1993)
    A/K/A: Conferences Are Murder
  • Booked for Murder (1996)
  • Hostage to Murder (2003)
Tony Hill / Carol Jordan
  • The Mermaids Singing (1996)
  • The Wire in the Blood (1997)
  • The Last Temptation (2002)
  • The Torment of Others (2004)
  • Beneath the Bleeding (2007)
  • Fever of the Bone (2009)
  • The Retribution (2011)
  • Cross and Burn (2013)
  • Splinter the Silence (2015)
  • Insidious Intent (2017)
  • How the Dead Speak (2019)
Karen Pirie
  • The Distant Echo (2003)
  • A Darker Domain (2008)
  • The Skeleton Road (2014)
  • Out of Bounds (2016)
  • Broken Ground (2018)
  • Still Life (2020)
Non-Series Novels
  • A Place of Execution (1999)
  • Killing the Shadows (2000)
  • The Grave Tattoo (2006)
  • Cleanskin (2006)
  • Crime in the Skin (2006)
  • The Grave Tattoo (2006)
  • Trick of the Dark (2010)
  • The Vanishing Point (2012)
  • Northanger Abbey (2014)
    – Modernization of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name; part of The Austen Project.
Short Story Collections
  • The Writing on the Wall and Other Stories (1997)
  • Stranded (2005)
Plays and Radio Plays
  • Like A Happy Ending (1981)
    – Stage and radio play.
  • Clean Break (1998)
  • The Right Chemistry (1999)
Children’s Books
  • My Granny is a Pirate (2012)
  • The High Heid Yin’s New Claes (2020)
    – In: The Itchy Coo Book o Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales in Scots.
  • A Suitable Job For A Woman (1994)
  • Forensics (2014)


A Selection of Quotes

Dead Beat

“Everybody’s got the right to go to hell in the handcart of their choice.”

Kick Back

“He frowned as he struggled to remember. It was like watching an elephant crochet.”

Crack Down

“When all else fails, go for the ego.”

“You know it’s a bad case when the only way you can catch up on your sleep is to get unconscious.”

Blue Genes

“Sometimes, the only things that make you feel good are the same ones that worked when you were five. Yes, I slammed the door.”

The Torment Of Others

“That was the trouble with moving houses; no matter how carefully you packed the books, they never ended up on the new shelves in quite the right place.”

Find more quotes by Val McDermid on Goodreads.