Falkirk author’s crime fiction is inspired by his real life ‘day job’ court cases

Lawyer and author William McIntyre
Lawyer and author William McIntyre

Falkirk crime fiction author William McIntyre makes no bones about the fact that he’s tired of reading books about ‘‘maverick cops’’.

He is a demon for detail when it comes to the finer points of court procedure and the cut and thrust of prosecution and defence.

Stitch Up, the latest book from  Falkirk author William McIntyre.

Stitch Up, the latest book from Falkirk author William McIntyre.

And while he doesn’t criticise any other author personally he’s clearly fed up with crime stories which major on “too much gore”.

The reason for what the Scotsman newspaper calls “a fresh take for the tartan noir scene” in Mr McIntyre’s books is not hard to find .

His day job as a criminal defence lawyer gives him an inside track few authors can hope to match.

It also gives him huge amounts of inspiration drawn from real life.

In his line of work he inevitably meets the full, colourful spectrum of court life and, while no real people feature specifically in his books, there must be little he does not know about the twists and turns of complex criminal cases.

Now this literary legal eagle – with a ready market and an inexhaustible supply of plot and character ideas – is about to launch his latest work, Stitch Up, in Falkirk’s Behind the Wall on August 17.

He’ll probably explain to the audience that, while his stories are fiction, the sort of things which happen in the course of his narrative are never that far-fetched.

His opening chapter is generally based on his own real-life experience and in the latest book that involves a client asking his defence lawyer hero, Robbie Munro, how he can get off with a crime he has yet to commit.

It’s a given, then, that, while the plot and the people are fictitious, none of what they get up to is beyond the realms of possibility – in fact quite the reverse.

His books are set in all sorts of locations and might easily feature scenes in well-known places across east central Scotland or (as in two books he mentions) Rome or Prague.

But what he won’t do is foist a homicide crime wave on some hapless town as in the Midsomer Murders TV series because, apart from anything else, that would clearly fly in the face of reality.

Just like “the last-minute witness” in some court dramas whom, he observes, would never get near the witness box in real life.

At the same time he says the legal inaccuracies in other writer’s work don’t spoil a good story for him, except when they are presented as the clincher which solves the crime.

In fact he seems at least as annoyed, if not more so, than the continual changes to Scottish law not just from a day job professional point of view but because they can render a book plot instantly redundant.

With a book taking perhaps 15 months to get from finished manuscript to print there’s the ever-present risk that the latest attempt to “improve” the present system could put a spanner in the works.

However don’t get the idea that William McIntyre’s books are any less engaging or thrilling just because they are based on acutely-experienced real life courtroom drama.

On the contrary, it’s the reader’s perception that “this” (or something like it) could actually happen that arguably gives this writer’s work a very distinctive edge.

Stitch Up is the latest volume in the author’s Best Defence series, and starts on an upbeat note – lawyer Robbie Munro has just got married and life is looking grand.

But a cloud the size of Bulgaria obligingly appears in Robbie’s clear blue sky when an old flame asks him to investigate the death of her fiance.

Fabricated evidence and a race against time combine to deliver another page-turner laced with William McIntyre’s acerbic humour and legal world insight.

He will be launching the book at Behind the Wall at 6.30pm on Friday, August 17, where – besides reading extracts from the book – he’ll also answer audience questions about his fascinating double life as a defence lawyer and author.