Stuart MacBride is another in the current crop of witty, gritty Scottish writers that have taken the mystery world by storm. Last week, HarperCollins Canada put on a super event with Mr. MacBride who is on a tour. Guests were seated seminar style in a large room with huge windows and Mr. MacBride was in the front like a lecturer. Cake was served and an amusing cardboard cutout mask of a Stewart McBride-like beard sat at each place.
The publishers generously provided a proof copy of Mr. MacBride’s next book Birthdays for the Dead and bags of Halloween candy. The author himself is delightful. High forehead, glasses, dark ponytail, he was six feet of cheerful charm, fast talking and funny.
Thrilled to get an advance copy of a talented author’s new work, I dove into Birthdays for the Dead as soon as I got home. It’s about a somewhat washed-up police investigator on the track of a serial killer with a taste for 12 year old girls. MacBride has a gift for the telling detail, the feel of a cold foggy night, the smells of a dirty slum, the sound of a lowlife bar. The amusing side he showed in his chats and his personalized book signing, surfaces frequently in the book, especially in the detective Ash Henderson's relationship with the loopy young police psychologist Dr. Alice McDonald. It provides welcome comic relief, an antidote to the noirish, gruesome detail of his blackly comic vision of contemporary Aberdeen and environs.