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Biography: Val McDermid

Val McDermid is one of Scotland’s best known and respected crime fiction authors. Her fame has extended into international recognition and has resulted in several awards and a television series. She has written over twenty novels.


Val McDermid was born on the 4th of June, 1955. Her formative years were spent in the small town of Kirkcaldy, Fife, in Scotland; a mining town famous for both the production of linoleum and being the birthplace of Adam Smith. At the age of seventeen, McDermid was accepted to St Hilda’s College in Oxford, making her not only one of the youngest undergraduates, but also the first undergraduate accepted from a state school in Scotland.

After graduation, McDermid spent two years in Devon studying to be a journalist, where she won several awards. It was at this time that McDermid first tried her hand at writing fiction. She produced a novel, which was rejected by all the publishing houses; however, she did turn it into a play which was performed by the Plymouth Theatre Company. She was then commissioned to write another play for a touring company. A literary agent represented her, but fired her for not making them enough money. She then spent fourteen years working for various national newspapers around the United Kingdom, and also beginning to write crime fiction.

McDermid’s first novel was published in 1987, and she became a full-time writer in 1991, which she continues to be currently. She spends her time in both South Manchester and Northumberland.

McDermid has won the following awards: Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the Anthony, Macavity, and Dilys awards for best novel. She was also a finalist for the Edgar Award.



Lindsay Gordon mysteries

  • Report for Murder: The First Lindsay Gordon Mystery (1987)
  • Common Murder: The Second Lindsay Gordon Mystery (1989)
  • Deadline for Murder: The Third Lindsay Gordon Mystery (1991)
  • Conferences are Murder: The Fourth Lindsay Gordon Mystery UK title “Union Jack” (1993)
  • Booked for Murder: The Fifth Lindsay Gordon Mystery (1996)
  • Hostage to Murder: The Sixth Lindsay Gordon Mystery (2003)

Kate Brannigan mysteries

  • Dead Beat (1992)
  • Kick Back (1993)
  • Crack Down (1994)
  • Clean Break (1995)
  • Blue Genes (1996)
  • Star Struck (1998)

Tony Hill & Carol Jordan novels

  • The Mermaids Singing (1995)
  • The Wire in the Blood (1997)
  • The Last Temptation (2002)
  • The Torment of Others (2004)
  • Beneath the Bleeding (2007)


  • A Place of Execution (1999)
  • Killing the Shadows (2000)
  • The Distant Echo (2003)
  • Stranded: a collection of short fiction (2005)
  • The Grave Tattoo (2005)


Val McDermid writes crime fiction.