Last week saw the publication of the Fall 2015 issue of Mystery Readers Journal. This issue is dedicated to the study and discussion of Scottish mystery and crime writing - such an interesting and complex topic, brilliantly illuminated by the contributors and authors that were part of the issue. Often referred to as 'Tartan Noir', Scottish crime writing continues to diversify and to challenge English and American crime writing traditions through its use of setting and idiom. The Mystery Readers Journal issue on Scottish Mysteries presents a fascinating array of short articles, essays by crime writers on their work, and columns including reviews. You can see the contents page of the issue here.
I am happy to have an article in the journal issue, entitled Performing Scottish Crime: Ian Rankin's Dark Road.
I have published on the contemporary Scottish crime short story previously, in my 2013 article 'Bags stuffed with the offal of their own history': Crime fiction and the short story in Crimespotting: An Edinburgh Crime Collection. Working on this material challenged me to look beyond the label of 'Tartan Noir' and engage in depth with the questioning and often deeply unsettling texts I encountered.
Having previously explored the Scottish crime short story, with my piece in Mystery Readers Journal I was pleased to have the opportunity to return to Scottish crime writing. Ian Rankin and Mark Thomson's co-written play Dark Road provided me with brilliant and troubling dramatic material through to examine an often less well-known or discussed literary form in the detective genre: the crime play. Rankin and Thomson's Dark Road demonstrates the range and scope of both crime and the dramatic, and makes brilliant use of the performance-related dimensions specific to the crime play format. I am interested in doing further research into this genre, and look forward to an opportunity to do so.