William McIlvanney was a Scottish crime author who was known as “the godfather of tartan noir”. He was best known for writing the Laidlaw series of crime novels. However, he also wrote the autobiographical novel, Docherty in 1975 that won him the Whitbread prize.

McIlvanney was born in the Ayrshire town of Kilmarnoc. He grew up in the area with three siblings before going on to study English at Glasgow University. He published his first novel in 1966, but took on a career as a schoolteacher around the same time. He would publish his second novel two years later, but he did not have the commercial success that would come to him later.

Publication Order of Jack Laidlaw Books

(with Ian Rankin)

Laidlaw (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Papers of Tony Veitch (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Strange Loyalties (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Dark Remains (With: Ian Rankin) (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Dark Remains is a prequel.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Shades of Grey (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Dreaming Scotland (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Poems/Short Story Collections

The Longships In Harbour (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Landscapes & Figures (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
These Words (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Walking Wounded (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Surviving the Shipwreck (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Anthologies

If You Like William McIlvanney Books, You’ll Love…

Laidlaw is the first book in the series of books about Detective Jack Laidlow. He is a Scotsman through and through, and the series is set in Glasgow where he works as a Detective Inspector for the Glasgow police. Laidlaw is a unique character in that he’s married with three kids and he loves philosophy. However, he can be contradictory as he’s violent and hates violence, and he believes in fidelity despite being unfaithful. In this book, a young woman is found brutally murdered on the streets of Glasgow and Laidlaw is the only one who can possibly catch her killer.

One of McIlvanney’s most praised novels is Docherty that tells the story of a Scottish miner as he fights for a better life for his son. The story takes place at the dawn of the twentieth century as Conn Docherty is born into the world. The boy comes from a family of no money, but his father decides that day that his son’s life will be different than his own and he’ll do whatever it takes to make it so.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of William McIlvanney Books

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